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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2019, Article ID 9612813, 15 pages
Research Article

Thermal Response and Degressive Reaction Study of Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic Products Exposed to Various Degradation Media

1Environment & Life Sciences Research Centre, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, P.O. Box: 24885, Safat 13109, Kuwait
2Water Research Centre, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, P.O. Box: 24885, Safat 13109, Kuwait

Correspondence should be addressed to S. M. Al-Salem; wk.ude.rsik@melass

Received 12 January 2019; Revised 15 March 2019; Accepted 26 March 2019; Published 30 April 2019

Academic Editor: Cornelia Vasile

Copyright © 2019 S. M. Al-Salem et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this work, three plastic film products commonly used as commodity thermoplastic articles were analysed with the aim of characterizing their thermal behaviour and stability. The test specimens were subjected to a series of analytical tests to confirm their biodegradable nature. The specimens ranged between 30 and 70 μm in thickness and showed high concentrations of regulated metals, namely, lead (Pb), postchemical analysis which can lead to its migration to natural sinks. The specimens were also exposed to degressive media, namely, accelerated (UV induced) weathering and soil burial field testing. The weight loss measured exceeded 58% after soil burial indicating deterioration under natural environmental stressors. In addition, the thermal characterization campaign executed with the aim of determining the product’s thermal response followed internationally recognised experimental protocols for the determination of thermal stability. The methodology used followed the International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC) recommendation for thermal stability and the computation of kinetic parameters. The degradation reaction kinetics were also determined postexposure to degressive media. Thermogravimetric analysis coupled with differential scanning calorimetry heat flow analysis and Fourier infrared spectroscopy results was also used in studying the degradation behaviour of the specimens. Analytical kinetic estimation methods relying on model free solutions enabled the determination of the apparent activation energy () of the specimens postexposure to degradation media. A shift in the degradation mechanism was also detected after studying the kinetic parameters which showed a range of between 86.64 and 226.90 kJ mol-1 depending on the type of specimens and exposure media. It can be concluded that the oxo-biodegradable films are well suited for thermal treatment in the future as discarded plastic solid waste (PSW) articles. This work also paves the way for developing national standards and future plans for societies burdened with PSW accumulation.