Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)


ERNEST E FOX, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The main thrust of this study is to examine the thermal decomposition of several metal chelates and of polypropylene, and to find how the two interact with one another to produce a possible flame retardant effect in the polymer. Several metal acetylacetonates were examined by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) in order to determine their thermal stability with respect to atactic polypropylene (APP) and isotactic polypropylene (IPP). These chelates were not suitable so the benzoylacetonates and dibenzoylmethonates, (BA) and (DBM), were made of iron and chromium (III). These four chelates were found to be more thermally compatible with APP and IPP. The four chelates were pyrolyzed in both inert and oxidative atmospheres and their pyrolysis products were examined using chromatography and mass spectrometry and the combination of the two (GC-MS). The pyrolysis products were mostly aromatic aldehydes and ketones, from both the inert and oxidative atmosphere pyrolysis. A mechanism for the thermal degradation of these chelates was proposed. Polypropylene was pyrolyzed and the products were examined with capillary GC-MS. In an inert atmosphere the products of APP pyrolysis were hydrocarbons, mostly olefins. In oxidative pyrolysis, the products were primarily aldehydes and ketones. Proposed mechanisms for the thermal decomposition of APP in inert and oxidative atmospheres were examined and explained some of the observed products but not all of them. The pyrolysis of the head to head polypropylene was also examined and a mechanism was proposed which accounted for most of the pyrolysis products which were observed. One of the chelates, chromium benzoylacetonate, was added to the APP samples and lowered the total amount of volatiles produced by as much as 20%.

Subject Area

Analytical chemistry

Recommended Citation

FOX, ERNEST E, "METAL COMPLEXES AS POTENTIAL FIRE RETARDANTS FOR POLYMERS" (1981). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8201328.