Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol.91, No.4, 2435-2442, 2004
Study of sulfonation mechanism of low-density polyethylene films with fuming sulfuric acid
Sulfonation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films with fuming sulfuric acid was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and attenuated total reflectance (ATR) infrared spectroscopy. The ATR spectra showed the formation of C==C double bonds and multiple sulfur atom containing groups for the sulfonation of LDPE films. This led us to propose that the abstraction reaction of hydride ion by sulfur trioxide (SO3) in fuming sulfuric acid might account for the formation of the C==C double bonds. It was considered that after the abstraction reaction, these double bonds react with SO3, resulting in the production of alkene sulfonic acids and sultones, along with the formation of sulfate groups as a result of reaction of the double bonds with sulfuric acid. Experimental data by treatment of the sulfonated LDPE films with KOH and thiourea supported the proposed idea, estimating the approximate molar ratio of the products. (C) 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.