Quantitative spectroscopy to determine the effects of photodegradation on a model polyester-urethane coating
During the accelerated exposure of a model polyester-urethane coating, measurements were taken at intervals to determine how the ultraviolet absorption, erosion, and chemical change proceeded during degradation. Infrared spectra showed that the carbonyl concentration increased with exposure as the material oxidized, but the ultraviolet results showed carbonyl peaks that diminished with exposure. Changes in optical path length, carbonyl concentration (both infrared and ultraviolet), and C–H concentration appeared linear with the exposure period. Knowing the chemical composition of the polyester and its reaction with isocyanurate made it possible to construct a representative model of the polymer network. Computational chemistry provided confirmation of the literature on which elements of the network were susceptible to degradation. As the polymer eroded, the aromatic content including some carbonyl was lost, but the remaining polymer was oxidized. Quantitative estimates were made for the mass lost and the change in concentration of the carbonyl and CH concentrations that agreed well with results from both the infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopy. Knowing the polymer composition allowed thickness change, a macroscopic quantity, to be connected to chemical changes via the polymer network model.
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