Influence of Different Stabilization Systems and Multiple Ultraviolet A (UVA) Aging/Recycling Steps on Physicochemical, Mechanical, Colorimetric, and Thermal-Oxidative Properties of ABS
Commercially mass-polymerized acrylonitrile&ndash;butadiene&ndash;styrene (ABS) polymers, pristine or modified by stabilization systems, have been injection molded and repeatedly exposed to ultravilolet A (UVA) radiation, mechanical recycling, and extra injection molding steps to study the impact of such treatments on the physicochemical, mechanical, colorimetric, and thermal-oxidative characteristics. The work focus on mimicking the effect of solar radiation behind a window glass as relevant during the lifetime of ABS polymers incorporated in electrical and electronic equipment, and interior automotive parts by using UVA technique. The accelerated aging promotes degradation and embrittlement of the surface exposed to radiation and causes physical aging, deteriorating mechanical properties, with an expressive reduction of impact strength (unnotched: up to 900%; notched: up to 250%) and strain at break (&gt;1000%), as well as an increase in the yellowing index (e.g., 600%). UV-exposition promotes a slight increase in the tensile modulus (e.g., 10%). The addition of antioxidants (AOs) leads to a limited stabilization during the first UVA aging, although the proper AO formulation increases the thermal-oxidative resistance during all the cycles. Mechanical recycling promotes an increase in strain at break and unnotched impact strength alongside a slight decrease in tensile modulus, due to disruption of the brittle surface and elimination of the physical aging.