Microwave-assisted Extraction of Additives from Polymers

Polymers are usually stabilized with additives in order to protect them from stress and aging due to environmental impacts. In terms of production, processing and quality assurance it is important to exactly determine the level of these additives. Appropriate sample preparation, i.e. the extraction of the stabilizers from the polymeric matrix, is a crucial step in this analytical process.

Over recent years, old conventional extraction methods like the Soxhlet extraction or simple reflux heating have been replaced by modern, more efficient setups.
One very promising method is the microwave-assisted extraction (MAE), not only because of the tremendous time-saving aspect, but also because of the increased preparative convenience and accurate parameter control.

For extractions, there are in general two basic methodologies.

(A) the „true“ extraction, where only analytes are leached out of the polymer matrix, and
(B) the dissolution-precipitation process, where also parts of the polymer itself are dissolved and have to be precipitated before HPLC analysis, otherwise the HPLC system will be affected.

This report deals with the microwave-assisted „true“ extraction of the most frequently and commonly used antioxidants. Irganox 1010, Irganox 1330 and Irgafos 168 served as model analytes in the optimization of the solvent system and of the temperature-time dependence in the microwave-assisted extraction of polypropylene samples.

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