Investigating the Effect of Tetrahydrofuran (THF) Plasticizer on the Crystallization and Solvent Seaming of PET/NPG Copolymer Films Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/00000455d

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  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymer has been the material of choice for packaging industry as a result of its excellent mechanical and physical properties. These properties are highly dependent on the microstructure, chemistry, and processing conditions of this material. PET is often oriented in the machine direction (MD), the transverse direction (TD) or both MD and TD, depending upon the resultant properties required. The orientation process causes polymer chain alignment and hence changes the original crystallinity, thermal properties, and lattice structure. In this work, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques were utilized to gain microstructure knowledge about the orientation of PET.PET is often copolymerized with different diacids or diols to produce desired film properties such as thermoforming, heat sealing, heat shrinking, solvent seaming, etc. In this work, PET copolymerized with neopentyl glycol (NPG) was investigated. These films can shrink about 75% in TD on appropriate heat treatment. Their ability to solvent seam with tetrahydofuran (THF) solvent make them an excellent material for shrink-sleeve bottle-label applications. The solvent induced crystallization of these copolymer films was also studied at different exposure times varying from 0 min to 40 min. Tensile tests of seals made from solvent exposed film samples indicated that increased crystallinity in the film significantly decreases the solvent seaming ability. Hence, the hypothesis was proposed that amorphous material provides better surface for solvent adsorption, which results into stronger solvent seams and better printability.
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