The thermal oxidation of an aromatic polyamide fibre, namely poly(m-xylylene adipamide) has been investigated. The volatile and non-volatile products of oxidation identified using T.L.C., H.P.L.C. and G.C.-M.S. include homologous series of monocarboxylic acids, dicarboxylic acids, n-alkyl amines, diamines and aldehydes. Furthermore, several aromatics, ketones and amides were also identified.\ud Mechanisms for their derivation have been proposed which are based on oxidation reactions already established in polymer chemistry. These include a mechanism of β scission by an alkoxy radical thought to be responsible for the creation of the homologous series.\ud \ud MXD,6 fibres were also spun incorporating 100, 200 and 400ppm of a cobalt catalyst and the effect of the metal ions on the oxygen uptake of the fibres was investigated. The results show a consistent increase in the rate of oxygen uptake as the concentration of the cobalt is increased. Furthermore, T.G.A. oxidative degradation\ud studies, conducted at isothermal temperatures in the solid state, show decreases in the activation energies associated with fibre oxidation with increased cobalt concentrations,\ud implying the cobalt is a catalyst for oxidation.\ud \ud A mechanism for the behaviour of the catalyst in the fibre has been proposed and it is thought the cobalt works predominantly as a catalyst for the initiation of radicals\ud whilst in the melt stage of polymer spinning, then to a lesser extent as a catalyst for radical propagation whilst in the solid phase
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