• degradation;
  • elastomers;
  • thermoplastics


The photodegradation of thermoplastic elastomers designed for outdoor applications was studied with laboratory ultraviolet (UV) exposure in the unstrained state and under tensile strain (25 and 50%). Strained exposure caused a reduction of the strain to failure in subsequent tensile tests. For some combinations of material and exposure conditions, some recovery of extensibility occurred between 2 and 4 weeks. Microscopic examination revealed that this was probably due to embrittlement of the surface region that was sufficiently severe that surface cracks did not propagate into the interior and that the observed recovery did not correspond to repair or improvement of the material. Shielding the sample surface from UV irradiation reduced the formation of surface cracking very significantly, and it was deduced that the principal cause of degradation was photooxidation rather than ozone attack. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 99: 150–161, 2006