One of the most important features of the technical progress of this century has been deep and wide penetration of polymeric materials into all fields of human life. But, more than a half century of their use has revealed some shortcomings common to all of these materials. Probably the most important of these is the tendency of most synthetic polymers to degradation. Polymer degradation is, in fact, a series of chemical and physical transformations occurring in the polymer during service, processing or storage, which causes deterioration in valuable properties. Many factors are responsible for polymer degradation, including heat, UV radiation, biological agents and many others. These factors, either separately or together, cause complex processes including cracking, depolymerisation, cross-linking, oxidation, etc. They may cause considerable and often quite rapid deterioration of polymer properties leading to a sharp decrease in their useful life.
This volume is organised to provide a wide coverage of new and traditional polymers and their behaviour during degradation, as well as the important chemical and engineering aspects of these materials relative to processing and performance in various applications.
Alfonso Jiminez and Guennadi E Zaikov, Editors