Verbeek, C.J.R., Hicks, T. & Longdon, A. (2011). Degradation as a result of UV radiation of bloodmeal-based thermoplastics. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 96(4), 515-522.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5096
Polymers are known for their susceptibility to degradation as a result of ultra-violet (UV) radiation. In this study, the UV stability of bloodmeal-based thermoplastics (BMT) was evaluated over a period of 12 weeks. Formulations with and without plasticiser were tested and moisture was excluded during accelerated weathering to isolate the effect of UV because of the material’s known sensitivity to moisture. It was found that embrittlement due to loss of water overshadowed the effect of UV degradation. Embrittlement caused the material’s toughness to be reduced by an order of magnitude after only two weeks of exposure, for either plasticised or unplasticised samples. An initial increase in tensile strength was observed after two weeks followed by a steady decline in strength. The elastic modulus reached a plateau after about two weeks of exposure. FTIR did not confirm any chemical changes after 12 weeks exposure and TGA suggested that low molecular mass species were quickly lost during the course of the test. The absence of chemical changes does not suggest resistance to environmental degradation, although the dark pigmentation of bloodmeal may have contributed to the lack of UV degradation. Embrittlement remains a greater concern and requires further attention.