Monday, April 05, 2010

Olefin Photo-oxidation

One you start seeing it, you start seeing it everywhere.

A Trash Can lid

Car Bumber #1

Car Bumber #2

They look like flow marks but aren't. These are photos from various polyolefin materials around my house that have been exposed to the sun for a number of years. The additive package designed to prevent this has been consumed and the UV photons are now having a free-for-all. The changes are largely cosmetic, but will eventually become structural.

I'm not sure why the variation exists, but in an almost contradictory statement, I think it could be related to the flow in the mold. I'm hypothesizing that these ARE basically a flow mark, but the marks could not be seen because human eyes are not sensitive enough to detect the original defect. Now after 10 years in the sun...

To further support this idea, I've worked with compression molded PP parts that were also strongly oxidized, but that oxidation was much more uniform than in these injection molded parts.


Andrew Sun said...

It seems that the anti-oxidative agents were not mixed well during production of these plastics. But chances may also be the post-production migration of these agents whose mobility depends on the structure heterogeneity of the matrix polymer.

John said...

I'm not sure that you could improperly mix the antioxidants like that, even if I wanted to.

Yes, I think it is because of someting associated with the "structural heterogeneity", I just don't what it is. But I certainly see it everywhere.