What is it about?

Today, it is difficult to meet a person who has not come across a polymeric product. Polymers, including plastics are low cost, lightweight, often biocompatible, with a high resistance to corrosion, and good thermal/electrical insulation. These advantages make them extremely useful in applications such as healthcare, consumer goods, structural engineering, and industrial manufacturing. It is therefore important to understand and measure polymer and plastic stabilities over time so that issues or failures can be identified and prevented. Material changes, which occur at the micro level, well below a millimeter, are usually studied in laboratory infrastructures, using specialized instrumentation. Conventional material evaluation techniques, widely used across industry, such as existing ultrasound sensors, cannot detect these changes.

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Why is it important?

Here, we present a new ultrasonic evaluation technique that does not require use to modify the polymer during measurement, contrary to many other techniques, allowing in situ localized measurements of the material properties changes, without the need for acquiring specimens from engineering structures. Our technique has the potential to provide information from polymers when in-service conditions are known or controlled, enabling prognostic maintenance and health monitoring of engineering infrastructure, and leading to more sustainable processes.

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This page is a summary of: Ultrasonic evaluation of aging kinetics in amorphous polymer, Applied Physics Letters, August 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0102398.
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