Degradation issues of polymer materials used in railway field

Mikiya Ito, Kazukiyo Nagai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

37 Citations (Scopus)


Polymer materials used in railway field are degraded by environmental factors such as thermal, oxidative, photolytic, hydrolytic, and mechanical. The expected service life of the polymer materials used in railway field is approximately 20 years that is relatively long period for the polymer material; therefore, respective degradation factors should be well considered. Some of the degradation conditions indicate similar mechanism. The oxidative reaction was seen in every degradation conditions under air atmosphere. The hydrolytic reaction was mainly observed in chemical and biological degradations. The degradation behavior of the polymer material was analyzed by various methods. FTIR, thermal analysis (TG, DSC), and molecular weight determination were mainly applied for its purpose. However, the degradation mechanism of practical products made of polymer material was insufficiently studied and the exchange criteria of the products depended on the visual inspection without the suitable degradation analysis not only in the railway field but also in other commercial and industrial fields. In addition, most of the methods to analyze degradation of polymer material are performed on the standard specimen forms. For the installed product, some kinds of damage are generated through the sample collection process; therefore, the damaged products have to be exchanged for brand new ones or repaired totally to be used for more period. Moreover, it is hard to suspend the railway service for the degradation analysis of polymer products. From these backgrounds, the prospect of degradation analysis related to polymer materials used in railway field was proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1723-1735
Number of pages13
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • Degradation condition
  • Mass production polymer
  • Polymer degradation
  • Railway
  • Test method

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