Nowadays plastics substitute other materials like metals or ceramics in many application fields. Main advantages of plastics are their easy processability, allowing to manufacture complex parts within one or few steps, and the low specific weight, leading to important energy savings. In many applications (e.g. automotive and medical engineering) the requirements regarding long-term performance and ageing behaviour of plastic parts are increasingly getting higher.
The ageing of plastic products can be caused by a multitude of factors such as heat, UV radiation and chemical agents. Ageing strongly depends on the service and environmental conditions of the product. Appropriate accelerated test methods are necessary for an accurate service lifetime prediction within acceptable times.
At SKZ we investigate the ageing behaviour of various plastic parts under influencing factors like temperature, chemical agents and weathering. Besides the prediction of ageing through accelerated testing, we focus on the development and application of suitable analytical techniques for the characterisation of the ageing state.
Influencing factors on the ageing behaviour of plastics
Special issues are:
- Thermo-oxidative ageing (temperature, oxygen/oxidizing agents)
- Resistance to media (water, detergents, acids, leachates, solvents, gases, etc.)
- Weathering behaviour (UV radiation, temperature and humidity)
- Biogenic ageing (bacteria, mildews, etc.)