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Processing polyamides with superheated water Part B Polymer physics

Evans, Gregory Connor, Lesser, Alan James
Journal of polymer science 2018 v.56 no.10 pp. 803-813
crystallization, diffusivity, extrusion, foams, melting, melting point, polyamides, temperature, viscosity
Superheated water (shH₂O) is investigated as a process aid in conventional aliphatic polyamide (PA) systems. The polymers investigated include PA 6 (PA6), PA 6,6 (PA66), PA 6,12 (PA612), and PA 12 (PA12). It is shown that the PA melting and crystallization temperatures are significantly reduced when exposed to shH₂O. For example, the melting temperature of PA6 is depressed from 206 to 153 °C in the presence of shH₂O. A relationship between amide group density and thermal transition temperature reduction is observed. Processing these materials in shH₂O has led to a variety of materials ranging from low‐density foams to higher density locally anisotropic foamed morphologies. In situ observations of PAs melting in the presence of shH₂O are performed using a specially designed reactor. Results from these experiments are used to estimate the diffusion coefficient of shH₂O in PA6. Finally, low‐temperature extrusion is performed with PA6 and shH₂O at temperatures as low as 180 °C and mixture viscosity is estimated. A 20‐fold depression in the melt viscosity of PA6 is observed at 240 °C with shH₂O. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2018, 56, 803–813