This paper is concerned with the processes of thermal degradation of nylon 6 and nylon 6,6, which lead to crosslinking and the production of involatile char. The techniques used in this study include thermogravimetric analysis (TG), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), hot-stage Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (hot-stage FTIR) and solution viscosity. TG results showed that nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 produce involatile char during thermal degradation. The formation of char lead to a deviation from first order kinetics of thermal degradation, and the amount of char yielded decreased with increasing temperature. Thermal degradation lead to a decrease in the amount of crystallinity attainable on cooling from the melt, which was considered to be due to crosslinking, and was accompanied by an increase in molecular weight and formation of colour. Hot-stage FTIR results showed that thermal degradation lead to the formation of an aromatic-conjugated structure, which may contain keteneimine groups. (C) 2000 Society of Chemical Industry.
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