Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Vol.55, No.14, 2318-2331, 2017
Photo-Oxidation of Poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide): A Reinvestigation
Reinvestigation of poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) photodegradation at wavelengths > 290 nm shows that both methyl groups and aromatic rings are sites of oxidation with their relative rates dependent on exposure conditions, based on infrared spectroscopy. The methyl group loss is linear with exposure and apparently proceeds by direct abstraction of a benzylic hydrogen by oxygen. The aromatic ring loss and carbonyl growth in the IR spectra appear to be auto-accelerating and seem to proceed by electron transfer to oxygen, either sensitized or through a direct reaction with oxygen, and recombination of the polymer radical cation and superoxide to result in oxygen addition to the ring. Molecular weight loss in solution occurs to a significant degree only in the presence of oxygen, even in the presence of a hydrogen-donating solvent, indicating that aryl ether photolysis is not a major pathway. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.