Wiles, D. M. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
Carlsson, D. J. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
- Rate of degradation
- Vulnerable materials
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Reduction in the useful properties of materials because of chemical changes resulting from the absorption of light. The chemical changes can include bond scission (especially of the molecular backbone), color formation, cross-linking, and chemical rearrangements. All organic materials can photodegrade, but the process has greatest practical relevance for polymers where scission of the polymer backbone is particularly important. Photodegradations of polymers in the absence of oxygen (photolysis) or using wavelengths shorter (more energetic) than those at the Earth's surface (<280 nanometers) have been studied extensively, but only the more practical situation of polymers exposed to terrestrial sunlight (or its equivalent) in air is discussed in this article.
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