Surface microcracking induced by weathering of polycarbonate sheet

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Journal titleJournal of Materials Science
Pages151320; # of pages: 1494
Subjectweathering; polycarbonate; microfissures; Plastics
AbstractPolycarbonate sheet subjected to outdoor weathering for relatively short periods develops a network of surface microcracks on the side exposed to solar radiation. Artificial weathering and SEM microscopy were used to illustrate the process of microcrack formation. Microcracking occurs under the influence of light radiation in conjunction with cycling of either temperature and moisture or temperature alone. The use of radiation by itself, or even relatively severe cycling of temperature and humidity without radiation, does not induce microcracking. According to the proposed mechanism, the resin of the exposed surface undergoes, with weathering, a gradual reduction in strength owing to a lowering of its molecular weight as a result of photochemical degradation. Cyclic variation of temperature and humidity in natural and artificial weathering imposes on the surface material a type of stress fatigue. Such stress fatigue is caused by the non- uniform dimensional changes that result from thermal and moisture content gradients between the surface and the bulk of the resin and from inhomogeneities and defects. When the fatigue limit of the surface material at a microsite becomes lower than the physically induced stresses, the resin cracks.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number15781
NPARC number20375042
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Record identifiera4a4929e-1839-48ef-988d-c30595696bfc
Record created2012-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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