Types of Polymer Degradation

There are certain properties which make up polymers. This includes molecular weight, strength, size, and color just to name a few. The application of polymers on other hand is versatile and therefore it is regarded as a useful product. This application is useful and on the other hand, creates issues in this regard which are uncontrollable. Giving ideal environment to polymer deployment is not possible at all and therefore it is not possible as well. Under any given situation there are certain issues which are faced by the owners while the polymer is deployed. This is known as polymer degradation. This caused heavy losses and has been regarded as one of the most faced issues. There are certain types of degradations which are commonly referred to as polymer change as well. Further you get to know about the most common types of degradations of polymers. It is also to be noted that degradation types are numerous but only a few are explained here to explain the idea in full:

UV degradation

Also known as photo induced degradation this occurs when the molecular structure of polymers are altered completely. This mainly happens when high-intensity rays such as X-rays, gamma rays, and even Ultraviolet rays react with the polymers. UV stabilization is a phenomenon which is added to polymers while they are developed. However, in most of the cases, time is another factor which causes this issue. UV stabilization fades during the course of time so it is advent that this type of issue occurs for sure. The carbon bonds within the polymers are broken and this leads to issues which lead to the fragile polymer as a result.

Thermal degradation

It is exposure to the high temperature which causes degradation. It makes the developers realize that the tensile strength of polymers is to be increased. However, it is not possible as at times the thermal point increases and the polymer covalent bonds are severely affected. There is a hydrogen atom which is embedded in each polymer chain. This atom makes sure that the bonds are kept together completely and in a forceful manner. When thermal degradation takes place the hydrogen atom in question completely evaporates from within the structure. The polymer bonds are broken which leads to issues in a long run. The process of polymerization is also reversed which leads to polymer breaking and eventual loss.

Chemical degradation

This is a complex process with same end result i.e. change in chemical properties of the polymer. It also makes sure that the bonds are broken in such a manner that overall structure of the polymer is altered completely. The main there aspects of chemical degradation of polymers which are as under:

  • Degradation of polymer by Ozone which mainly targets rubber based polymers
  • PVC degradation which is mainly done by chlorine. Joints of polymer piping are affected.
  • Degradation of polyester. High-temperature polymers are also degraded by the same effect.

High-temperature polyurethane is also degraded by same degradation methods which are regarded as the most destructive force of all.