Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
Polyesters, such as poly (butylene terephthalate) (PBT), owe a rather low melt strength, which is considered as not beneficial for foaming. To overcome this issue, a typical attempt is the incorporation of chemical modifications—so-called chain extenders (CE)—in the reactive extrusion process. In this study, the reaction kinetic variables are investigated depending on the material and process parameters. For this purpose, different series of experiments are performed with varying PBT with different molecular weights and the commonly used CE, Joncryl ADR4468, on a micro compounder. The screw force is recorded and analyzed using an Avrami and an Arrhenius plot. First, the amount of CE is systematically varied. To study the course of the reaction in more detail, the reaction is stopped in a series of measurements (10, 30, 60, and 90 s after complete filling). Gel permeation chromatography (GPC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and Raman spectra are recorded. In the second series, the effect of processing temperatures between 250 and 270 °C is investigated, and finally, in the third series, the average molecular weight of PBT is varied. It could be shown that the activation energy seems to be dependent on the initial molecular weight; lower molecular weights result in lower activation energy.