Failure of Plasticized Poly(vinyl chloride) Tubing
A section of clear polymeric tubing failed while in service. The failed sample had been used in a chemical transport application. The tubing had also been exposed to periods of elevated temperature as part of the operation. The tubing was specified to be a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin plasticized with trioctyl trimellitate. Investigation included visual inspection, micro-FTIR in the ATR mode, and thermogravimetric analysis. The spectrum on the failed tubing exhibited absorption bands indicative of a PVC resin containing an adipate-based plasticizer. Thermograms of the failed pieces and a reference sample of tubing that performed well showed that the reference material contained a trimellitate-based plasticizer and that the failed material contained an adipate-based material. The conclusion was that the failed tubing had been produced from a formulation that did not comply with the specified material and, as a result, was not as thermally stable as the reference material.