Degradation and fragmentation behavior of polypropylene and polystyrene in water
Hisayuki Nakatani, Yuina Ohshima, Taishi Uchiyama & Motokucho Suguru
The polystyrene (PS) retrieved from the beach exhibited no change in surface texture. In contrast to it, the retrieved polypropylene (PP) had a rumpled surface texture. Highly reactive sulfate radical generated by K2S2O8 was employed as degradation initiator of PP and PS, and their degradation behavior was studied in water. The PS carbonyl index value gradually went up down, and its molecular weight (MW) curve discontinuously shifted to a lower MW with the increase of the degradation time unlike the PP. It was found that the PP microplastic production rate was approximately three time higher than the PS from weight ratio dependence on degradation time. The higher microplastic production rate of PP arose from its crystallizability. The voids were produced by change in specific volume occurring by chemi-crystallization and then provoked the cracks leading to quick fragmentation. The SEM photographs suggested that the PP microplastic size facilely reached nm order by the cracking around lamella.
polypropylene, polystyrene, molecular weight