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🔹The Role of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are essential additives widely used in the thermal processing and utilization of plastics, aiming to mitigate the effects of thermal oxidation and degradation.

🔹How Antioxidants Work

Heating plastics can trigger oxidation reactions, causing damage to the material. Specifically, when plastics are heated, oxidation reactions may occur, leading to chain scission, cross-linking, and the formation of carbonyl groups. This may result in plastic becoming brittle, changing color, and experiencing a loss of mechanical properties.

To counteract these adverse effects, antioxidants work by scavenging free radicals formed during the oxidation process, disrupting the propagation cycle of thermal oxidation. This helps alleviate or prevent the aforementioned effects.


Antioxidants are primarily classified into the following types:

  1. Primary antioxidants: Commonly include hindered phenols and amine compounds. Their principle of action involves directly reacting with free radicals or providing hydrogen atoms to form inert compounds, thereby terminating the chain reaction of peroxide free radicals to protect plastics.
  2. Secondary antioxidants: Also known as "preventive antioxidants," commonly include phosphite antioxidants. They readily react with peroxide groups, producing inert non-free radical compounds, thereby terminating the chain reaction. Secondary antioxidants are often used in conjunction with primary antioxidants to achieve a synergistic effect.

🔹Key Advantages

  1. Maintaining Mechanical Properties: During high-temperature processing, antioxidants contribute to preserving the mechanical properties and toughness of plastics, preventing degradation at elevated temperatures.
  2. Color Preservation: Antioxidants prevent discoloration caused by oxidation, ensuring the protection of the color of the plastic against oxidative effects.
  3. Extended Service Life: The use of antioxidants extends the service life of finished plastic products by effectively combating the impact of thermal oxidative degradation.

Therefore, antioxidants play a protective role for plastics at different stages, ensuring the maintenance of performance and appearance.


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