Aging and Weathering Testing of Polymers
This article describes weathering and environmental factors that contribute to degradation in plastics, including temperature variations, moisture, sunlight, oxidation, microbiologic attack, and other environmental elements. It presents a general overview of aging factors, their effects on plastic materials, and the accelerated test methods that can be used to estimate the reaction of a plastic component during actual use. The article focuses on the determination of service temperature as it indicates the ability of a material to retain a certain property, when exposed to elevated temperatures for an extended period of time. It concludes by describing various degradation processes, namely, thermal degradation, thermal oxidative degradation, photooxidative degradation, environmental corrosion, and chemical corrosion and discussing the ways of detecting these degradation processes.