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Quantifying the fragmentation of polypropylene upon exposure to accelerated weathering

Title data

Meides, Nora ; Mauel, Anika ; Menzel, Teresa ; Altstädt, Volker ; Ruckdäschel, Holger ; Senker, Jürgen ; Strohriegl, Peter:
Quantifying the fragmentation of polypropylene upon exposure to accelerated weathering.
In: Microplastics and Nanoplastics. Vol. 2 (21 September 2022) Issue 1 . - No. 23.
ISSN 2662-4966
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s43591-022-00042-2

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
SFB 1357 Mikroplastik391977956

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
DEAL

Abstract in another language

Polymers are omnipresent in our everyday lives. For specific applications, their properties can be extensively modified by various types of additives, e.g., processing stabilizers, antioxidants, UV-stabilizers, flame retardants, and plasticizers. While several additives are nowadays considered to be toxic or persistent in the environment, quantitative data characterizing plastic fragmentation and microplastic formation have not yet been discussed in detail. Here, we present a long-term, laboratory-controlled accelerated weathering study on polypropylene (PP) particles with and without processing stabilizers. We were able to identify the stabilizers as Irgafos® 168, and Irganox® 1010. For both PP sample sets, we monitored the degradation using a combination of various analytical methods, such as gel permeation chromatography, particle size distributions, scanning electron microscopy, solid-state 13C magic-angle spinning NMR and liquid-state 1H, 13C, 31P NMR spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry. The stabilizers prevent degradation by simulated solar radiation for about 350 h. Then, degradation sets in rapidly, leading to an exponential decrease in molecular weight and particle size, accompanied by an increase in crystallinity and the formation of oxygen-containing functional groups. After 3200 h, representing approximately 2 years of outdoor weathering, both PP samples exhibit comparable characteristics and sizes, regardless if a stabilizer was initially present. During degradation, an extremely large number of 100,000 daughter particles (4 µm) are formed and released from one MP particle of 192 µm diameter. Their physical properties and chemical composition have largely changed, resulting in a very low molecular weight and a hydrophilic character. These particles no longer resemble pristine PP. We thus expect them to be more prone to biodegradation compared to the starting material.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Degradation; Microplastic; Nanoplastic particles; Photooxidation; Additives; Secondary daughter MP particle production
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Inorganic Chemistry III
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Inorganic Chemistry III > Chair Inorganic Chemistry III - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jürgen Senker
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Macromolecular Chemistry I
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Macromolecular Chemistry II
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Polymer Materials
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Polymer Materials > Chair Polymer Materials - Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Ruckdäschel
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Polymer and Colloid Science
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Nordbayerisches Zentrum für NMR-Spektroskopie - NMR-Zentrum
Research Institutions > Affiliated Institutes > Bavarian Polymer Institute (BPI)
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Service Facilities
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2022 09:45
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2022 09:45
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/72015