Understanding Hydrolysis…

I was discussing material dying with a technician and was asked this question…

What is Hydrolysis? I looked it up online, but I don’t understand the technical jargon.

My Response
Basically, water molecules are formed with two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O). This is a relatively stable relationship under room conditions. When heated during processing, one of the hydrogen atoms can become easily dislodged from the molecule creating a positively charged hydrogen atom H+. This will also leave a negatively charged alcohol molecule OH-.
Additional Thoughts
What is important about this process is that many polymers are attacked by the results of the hydrolyzed water molecule causing polymer chain degradation. This is why properly drying hygroscopic materials is so important.

Leave a Comment