When expanded polystyrene (EPS) is exposed to high temperatures it degrades through a series of complex transitions including bead collapse, melting, and volitization. The kinetics of bead collapse has been studied in this investigation. Beads were exposed to temperatures between 50 and 80?C for various times. Microscopic techniques were used to measure the change in bead diameter as a function of temperature and time. The results indicate that the collapse of the beads begins at 110?C and maximum rates are observed between 110 and 150?C. The activation energy for bead collapse was measured to be 120 J/g. The results can be used to develop additives to control the degradation rate in the polymer.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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