Processes leading to deterioration of plastics

The methodology of evaluation of the extent of degradation of any plastic in museums and exhibitions is very closely linked with its identification, with the possibility to undertake micro-chemical tests as well as physical measurements.

Generally, any method of identification when repeated several times within the time lags may bring the comparative information on the development of plastics degradation. The smell, shape, transparency and/or colour, blooming of low molar mass products of degradation or additives on the material surface and the staining, brittleness, the change in adhesion of water, structure and state of the surface, crazings and/or crackings observable in material, material flaws, warping, scratching, wear, haptic and tactile properties, tearing and peeling are some of the artefact properties which can provide the identification clue to the material quality and its dating.