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Vol. 11 (2024)

Accelerated Polymer Photodegradation

April 5, 2024


Abstract: This article presents preliminary results of the accelerated degradation of polymers using concentrated solar radiation. For this purpose, a passive solar concentration prototype was designed, which consists of four trapezoidal mirrors placed in the shape of an inverted truncated square pyramid. The mirrors are placed at an angle of 30° respect to the zenith. The prototype has a square base of 46 cm x 46 cm where the polymers to be irradiated are placed and a geometric concentration ratio, CRg, of 1.89. The mass change was determined after 30 days of exposure to solar radiation, and the temperature variation of some samples as a function of irradiance was obtained. In addition, a computer simulation was carried out using the free access software Energy2D. Some polymers maintained their flexible mechanical properties, such as PET (type 1), others were partially embrittled, while type 2, 5 and 7 polymers were completely embrittled. It was possible to reduce the degradation time of different types of commercial polymers, while polymers exposed to non-concentrated radiation and without exposure remains intact. Embrittled polymers can be used as waterproof material in slabs and pre-cast walls, as well in applications where they are not exposed to solar radiation. On the other hand, the polymers that remained intact must be used in applications with permanent radiation exposure, such as in flower pots, plastic parts for automobiles, etc.


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