Author(s): Tim R Dargaville, Graeme A George, David JT Hill, Andrew K Whittaker
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Fluoropolymers are known as chemically inert materials with good high temperature resistance, so they are often the materials of choice for harsh chemical environments. These properties arise because the carbon–fluorine bond is the strongest of all bonds between other elements and carbon, and, because of their large size, fluorine atoms can protect the carbon backbone of polymers such as poly(tetrafluoroethylene), PTFE, from chemical attack. However, while the carbon–fluorine bond is much stronger than the carbon hydrogen bond, the G values for radical formation on high energy radiolysis of fluoropolymers are roughly comparable to those of their protonated counterparts. Thus, efficient high energy radiation grafting of fluoropolymers is practical, and this process can be used to modify either the surface or bulk properties of a fluoropolymer. Indeed, radiation grafted fluoropolymers are currently being used as separation membranes for fuel cells, hydrophilic filtration membranes and matrix substrate materials for use in combinatorial chemistry. Herein we present a review of recent studies of the high energy radiation grafting of fluoropolymers and of the analytical methods available to characterize the grafts.
This article was published in Progress in Polymer Science
and referenced in Journal of Membrane Science & Technology