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Physical Morphology and Quantitative Characterization of Chemical Changes of Weathered PVC/Pine Composites

Fabiyi, James S., McDonald, Armando G.
Journal of polymers and the environment 2010 v.18 no.1 pp. 57-64
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, color, colorimetry, lignin, oxidation, poly(vinyl chloride), scanning electron microscopy, weathering, wood, wood plastic composites
This study investigated weathering effects on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) based wood plastic composites (WPC), with a focus on the color and structure that is attributed to the material composition. It is directed towards quantifying the main chemical modifications, such as carbonyl and vinyl groups which are formed during weathering. These composites were subjected to three weathering regimes: exterior, accelerated xenon-arc, and accelerated UVA. The change in color was monitored using colorimetry. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to identify and quantify the chemical modifications (carbonyl formation and vinyl propagation) due to weathering. Additionally, scanning electron microscopy was employed to observe the physical morphological changes that occurred. The results showed that exterior and accelerated xenon-arc and UVA weathering regimes increased the degree of lightness, total color change, carbonyl concentration, and wood loss on the surfaces of the weathered composites. The increased carbonyl concentration during weathering implied that degradation had occurred by oxidation process. Also, oxidation and lignin (from the wood) degradation influenced the color (lightness) of PVC based WPC upon weathering.