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Forming porous nascent UHMWPE structures by mineral oil substitution for toxic solvents and process change

Authors Whitehouse, Claire
Liu, Meilin
Gao, Ping View this author's profile
Issue Date 1999
Source Advances in environmental research , v. 3, (3), 1999, FAL, p. 243-254
Summary An energy efficient semi-solid state processing method for production of porous nascent UHMWPE fibres uses a "swelling" die of novel design and substitutes mineral oil for harmful toxic organic solvents, such as decalin, for blending with UHMWPE. Fugitive emissions are reduced by using low volatility mineral oil, which may be removed by supercritical CO2 extraction and reused. The process consists of blending 10 wt\% mineral oil with the powder, compaction, simultaneous extrusion, swelling and annealing at 135 degrees C using the swelling die and hot draw at 120 degrees C. The interparticle penetration and cohesion achieved are superior to solid state processing. This is a result of the mineral oil swelling the powder particles and solvating PE chains leading to higher contact areas between, and diffusion of polymer chains across, particle boundaries. Morphological and thermal characterizations and tensile testing were used to assess the properties of the products of this process. The nearly uniform thermal characteristics reflect the heat transfer action of the mineral oil and the very high ductility and toughness of the extrudates is due to the high level of interparticle cohesion. SEM micrographs show a porous, micro-fibre structure with transverse fibrils of <0.2 mu m diam. connecting the longitudinal fibrils. Such porous and high performance films may find use in environmental applications, e.g. in membranes and absorbents.
ISSN 1093-0191
Language English
Format Article
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