Off-line analysis in the manganese catalysed epoxidation of ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM) with hydrogen peroxide

C. Maurits De Roo, Johann B. Kasper, Martin Van Duin, Francesco Mecozzi*, Wesley Browne

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The epoxidation of ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM) with 5-ethylidene-2-norbornene (ENB) as the diene to epoxidized EPDM (eEPDM) creates additional routes to cross-linking and reactive blending, as well as increasing the polarity and thereby the adhesion to polar materials, e.g., mineral fillers such as silica. The low solubility of apolar, high molecular weight polymers in the polar solvents constrains the catalytic method for epoxidation that can be applied. Here we have applied an in situ prepared catalyst comprising a manganese(ii) salt, sodium picolinate and a ketone to the epoxidation of EPDM rubber with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as the oxidant in a solvent mixture, that balances the need for polymer and catalyst/oxidant miscibility and solubility. Specifically, a mixture of cyclohexane and cyclohexanone is used, where cyclohexanone functions as a co-solvent as well as the ketone reagent. Reaction progress was monitored off-line through a combination of Raman and ATR-FTIR spectroscopies, which revealed that the reaction profile and the dependence on the composition of the catalyst are similar to those observed with low molar mass alkene substrates, under similar reaction conditions. The combination of spectroscopies offers a reliable method for off-line reaction monitoring of both the extent of the conversion of unsaturation (Raman) and the extent of epoxidation (FTIR) as well as determining side reactions, such as epoxide ring opening and further, aerobic oxidation. The epoxidation of EPDM described, in contrast to currently available methods, uses a non-scarce manganese catalyst and H2O2, and avoids side reactions, such as those that can occur with peracids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32505-32512
Number of pages8
JournalRSC Advances
Volume11
Issue number51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14-Sep-2021

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