The oxidative stabilities of several perfluoropolyalkyl ethers (PFPAE) with related chemical structures were determined by thermal gravimetric analysis and correlated with their chemical structures. These results show that oxidative stability increases as the number of difluoroformal groups decreases and as trifluoromethyl substituents are added. They are also consistent with a recently proposed intramolecular disproportionation reaction mechanism involving coordination of successive ether oxygens to a Lewis acid. Since polytetrafluoroethylene contains no oxygen, it provides an indication of the upper limit to oxidative stability of PFPAE fluids. These results also show that oxidative decomposition of PFPAE fluids requires the presence of an active metal as well as air. Consequently, it may be possible to minimize decomposition and thus improve oxidative stability by passivating reactive metal surfaces.
Helmick, L. S. (1992). Determination of the Oxidative Stability of Perfluoropolyalkyl Ethers and Correlation with Chemical Structure. NASA Technical Memorandum (106223).