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  Global Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 2011, 1: 13
  Research Article
Natural weathering studies of polypropylene – Effect of climatic conditions
  Kumaraswamy Rajakumara, Sarasvathy Vijayakumara, Arunachalam Thamaraichelvanb, Chitra Rajagopalc, Chinnaswamy Thangavel Vijayakumara  
a Department of Polymer Technology, Kamaraj College of Engineering and Technology, K. Vellakulam Post 625701, India
b Post-graduate and Research Department of Chemistry, Thiagarajar College (Autonomous), Madurai 625009, India
c Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, DRDO, Timarpur, Delhi 110054, India

  Polypropylene (PP) is an attractive material for packaging based on the excellent price/property relationship and its versatility. The natural weathering (NW) behaviour of PP during five different periods in a year represented as NW1, NW2, NW3, NW4 and NW5 is investigated. The structural changes of weathered PP are followed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic technique. Various indices like hydroxyl, carbonyl, vinylidene, lactones, ester, carboxylic acid and crystallinity are calculated for the weathered PP samples. The variation in mechanical properties like tensile strength and elongation at break percentage are determined. Weathered PP having increased carbonyl index showed surface cracks in the scanning electron microscopic images. Attempted life time prediction using mathematical models showed that the formation of carbonyl groups and the loss in tensile strength are dictated by the average temperature and the UV and the visible part of the solar radiation.
  Polypropylene; Natural weathering; FTIR; Tensile strength; Life time prediction; SEM  

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