The weathering of plastics and composites is a problem because of the loss of both physical and mechanical properties that it causes in these materials. But this weathering effect has been difficult, and in some cases, impossible to characterize without the destruction of the plastic or composite part. Clearly a rapid, reliable, and non-destructive test for the extent of the weathering damage is critically needed. A recent problem that arose at Superyacht Solutions, a boat repair company in Australia, required a solution to just this problem. Such a test was developed for Superyacht Solutions, and is being applied across a wide range of plastic materials. The chemical foundation upon which this solution rests is also being confirmed. The Superyacht Solutions problem was that a boat was brought in for repair which was yellowing dramatically. Surface erosion was confirmed by scanning electron microscope (SEM) surface studies. A loss of mechanical properties was also suspected. A new spectroscopic method of analysis was developed that not only identified the problem as extensive oxidation, but was able to quantify the extent of damage that occurred through a non-destructive technique. This method has also been applied to other plastics with encouraging initial results. The method used and its theoretical basis are included in this thesis.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





plastics, weathering, non-destructive, spectroscopy, EDS, ultraviolet, photooxidation, oxidation