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Keywords:

  • poly(methyl-methacrylate);
  • gamma ray doses;
  • alpha particles fluences;
  • Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy;
  • microhardness test;
  • optical characteristics;
  • structural studies

Abstract

Clear poly(methyl-methacrylate)—PMMA—dosimeter is widely used in food irradiations. Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS) is one of the unique tools used for studying free-volumes and open-volume type defects in solid media. The Vicker's microhardness measurements offer a simple and nondestructive tool for investigating the mechanical behavior of polymer materials. PALS as well as microhardness measurements were carried out for PMMA samples, irradiated with low- and high-linear energy transfers (LET). The low-LET irradiations were provided at lethal doses of gamma radiations for vegetative bacteria. Such irradiations showed a chain scission in the PMMA samples. High-LET irradiations showed behavior different from the low-LET ones. The observed behavior depends on the alpha particle fluence. The microhardness testing was carried out for virgin and irradiated PMMA samples at high-LET. A negative correlation was found between PALS measurements and microhardness results. The optical characteristics and structural studies for the virgin and irradiated PMMA samples were in agreement with the PALS and microhardness measurements. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012