Polymer, Vol.153, 558-564, 2018
Combined kinetic analysis of multistep processes of thermal decomposition of polydimethylsiloxane silicone
In this work, we studied the thermal decomposition of a widely employed silicone elastomer, polydimethylsiloxane, in an inert atmosphere. This silicone elastomer has several applications due to its high thermal stability such as MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) precursors, microfluidic components, adhesives, lubricants, and precursors for non-porous ceramics. Therefore, a reliable description of the thermal decomposition kinetics is important to prevent or control the decomposition in such applications. While the decomposition has been amply reported as a complex process, most kinetic studies published on this system use simplified methods that avoid the fact that the entire process cannot be described by a single kinetic triplet. Here, we have studied the decomposition process by first separating the overall reaction into its three constituent steps which were subsequently analysed independently. The deconvolution was carried out using Fraser-Suzuki function that is capable of fitting an asymmetric peak fitting function. The resulting kinetic parameters proved to be able to reconstruct the original experimental curves but are also capable of producing accurate predictions of curves recorded at heating schedules different from those employed to record the experimental data used in the kinetic analysis. Finally, it was found that the rate limiting step of all stages is the diffusion of the gases released during the polymer decomposition through the transforming polymeric matrix.