The influence of oxygen on elastomers, known as oxidation, is one of the most important ageing processes and becomes more and more important for nowadays applications. The interaction with thermal effects as well as antioxidants makes oxidation of polymers a complex process. Based on the polymer chosen and environmental conditions, the ageing processes may behave completely different. In a lot of cases the influence of oxygen is limited to the surface layer of the samples, commonly referred to as diffusion-limited oxidation. For the lifetime prediction of elastomer components, it is essential to have detailed knowledge about the absorption and diffusion behaviour of oxygen molecules during thermo-oxidative ageing and how they react with the elastomer. Experimental investigations on industrially used elastomeric materials are executed in order to develop and fit models, which shall be capable of predicting the permeation and consumption of oxygen as well as changes in the mechanical properties. The latter are of prime importance for technical applications of rubber components. Oxidation does not occur homogeneously over the entire elastomeric component. Hence, material models which include ageing effects have to be amplified in order to consider heterogeneous ageing, which highly depends on the ageing temperature. The influence of elevated temperatures upon accelerated ageing has to be critically analysed, and influences on the permeation and diffusion coefficient have to be taken into account. This work presents phenomenological models which describe the oxygen uptake and the diffusion into elastomers based on an improved understanding of ongoing chemical processes and diffusion limiting modifications. On the one side, oxygen uptake is modelled by means of Henry’s law in which solubility is a function of the temperature as well as the ageing progress. The latter is an irreversible process and described by an inner differential evolution equation. On the other side, further diffusion of oxygen into the material is described by a model based on Fick’s law, which is modified by a reaction term. The evolved diffusion-reaction equation depends on the ageing temperature as well as on the progress of ageing and is able to describe diffusion-limited oxidation.
Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 27, 2017
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