Thermotropic main-chain liquid crystalline polymers typically have very low melt viscosity with strong temperature dependence compared to other common thermoplastics. While this is beneficial in some processing applications, such as injection molding, it presents challenges for others, such as coextrusion. In this study, the rheological properties of a thermotropic main-chain liquid crystalline polymer (Vectra A950) were enhanced by melt-state reactive processing with triphenyl phosphite (TPP), which can react with up to three polymer chain-ends through their chain-end functionalities. The influence of processing time and TPP content on the shear viscosity and other important material properties were investigated. Optimal conditions, which increased the shear viscosity by nearly a factor of 20 over the neat polymer, were found to be 4 wt% TPP and 30 min of reaction time at 290 °C. Further results from differential scanning calorimetry, wide-angle X-ray diffraction and polarized optical microscopy confirmed that coupling with TPP did not affect the microstructure, melting/crystallization behavior or liquid crystallinity. The stability of TPP-modified samples was also studied at 80 °C in air and following melt reprocessing at 290-300 °C under N2 or air. Samples were stable (as measured by shear viscosity) for more than one month at 80 °C in air or when reprocessed in N2 at 290 °C for up to 10 min. However, when reprocessed at 300 °C in air, the viscosity enhancement was partially reversed due to scission of P-O bonds that were formed during the initial reaction between the polymer chain-ends and TPP.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge financial support from the Welch Foundation (to CJE Grant #F-1709 ) and the NSF Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (Grant DMR-0423914 )
- Vectra A950
- liquid crystalline polymers
- reactive processing