The effect of smoke components on the photodegradability of cellulose acetate filters
A current and continued interest in the environmental impact of materials used in consumer products has resulted in the need for an extensive understanding of the degradability of cellulose acetate tow used in cigarette filters.
Cellulose acetate tow is subjected to a number of environmental forces leading to degradation through a variety of mechanisms such as photo degradation, biodegradation, chemical degradation, dispersion, and disintegration.
Previous work has shown that the incorporation of photoactive materials in cellulose acetate can significantly increase the rate of photo degradation. Most of the previous studies were conducted with un-smoked filters. In this study, the effect of filtered smoke components on the degradation of cigarette filters was investigated. The degradation of smoked versus unsmoked cigarette filters was examined under two testing conditions, an accelerated test method using bench top weatherometers and a rooftop weathering test method. Samples were tested that contained either one of two photodegradation enhancing additives or no additive at all. The effect of the plug wrap on filter degradation was also examined by testing samples with and without plug wrap.
Results indicate that filtered smoke components do not interfere with the natural degradation of conventional cellulose acetate. Furthermore, these smoke components do not reduce the enhancement in photodegradation obtained by incorporating active additives into cellulose acetate fibres.