2023 article

Molecular Mechanism of Plasticizer Exudation from Polyvinyl Chloride

Kwansa, A. L. L., Pani, R. C. C., DeLoach, J. A. A., Tieppo, A., Moskala, E. J. J., Perri, S. T. T., & Yingling, Y. G. G. (2023, June 22). MACROMOLECULES.

By: A. Kwansa n, R. Pani n, J. DeLoach*, A. Tieppo*, E. Moskala*, S. Perri*, Y. Yingling n

Source: Web Of Science
Added: July 10, 2023

Plasticizers improve polymer material flexibility and durability by lowering glass transition and cold flex temperatures. While many different classes of plasticizers have been synthesized and used in various applications, several classes have been phased out due to concerns over their safety. One of the main problems that hinder the development of a new generation of efficient and safe plasticizers is the plasticizers’ migration and exudation from polymer materials, which leads to a reduction of mechanical properties and premature degradation. Here, we employed multiscale molecular dynamics, validated by experiment, to investigate the molecular mechanism of exudation of an orthophthalate plasticizer (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)), non-orthophthalate plasticizers (di-n-butyl terephthalate (DnBT) and di-2-ethylhexyl terephthalate (DEHT)), and their blends from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The results suggest that DnBT acted as an intermediary between PVC and DEHT, improving the compatibility of the plasticizer blend and reducing the degree of exudation. Specifically, it was predicted that the 70:30 wt % DnBT–DEHT blend was on par with the DEHP control system. These results also suggest that plasticizer-PVC compatibility is a stronger determinant of plasticizer exudation than the plasticizer size, diffusivity, and viscosity, given that DnBT is a smaller, more mobile, faster-diffusing, and lower-viscosity plasticizer than DEHT. Overall, our results indicate that the most important parameters that control exudation were Hansen solubility and consequently Flory–Huggins interaction parameters.