College of Engineering
Materials Engineering Department
BS in Materials Engineering
The lack of degradation of plastic products have imposed problems in the preservation of natural environments and their ecosystems through plastic accumulation. This collection of plastics promotes toxin exposure to wildlife, finding its way into the food chain, affecting both land and marine ecosystems. The project goal is to understand the degradation mechanisms of biodegradable materials and other comparable materials through UV radiation testing. Polylactide (PLA) films and polycarbonate (PC) films will be compared for their relative deterioration from constant UV radiation in a Q-U-V accelerated weather tester for 28 days. Five 3” by 5” samples of 14 mil thick and 16 mil thick PLA films along with 15 mil thick PC films were prepared for ultraviolet exposure. Mechanical and microstructural property changes will be monitored by tensile testing using ASTM D882 procedure, differential scanning calorimetry, and FT-infrared spectroscopy. Based on preliminary observations, there are no signs suggesting PLA will degrade to a greater extent than PC.