The use of polymeric materials such as geosynthetics in infrastructure works has been increasing over the last decades, as they bring down costs and provide long-term benefits. However, the aging of polymers raises the question of its long-term durability and for this reason researchers have been studying a sort of techniques to search for the required renewal time. This paper examined a commercial polypropylene (PP) nonwoven geotextile before and after 500 h and 1000 h exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light by performing laboratory accelerated ultraviolet-aging tests. The state of the polymeric material after UV exposure was studied through a wide set of tests, including mechanical and physical tests and thermoanalytical tests and scanning electron microscopy analysis. The calorimetric evaluations (DSC) showed distinct behaviors in sample melting points, attributed to the UV radiation effect on the aged samples. Furthermore, after exposure, the samples presented low thermal stability in the thermomechanical analysis (TMA), with a continuing decrease in their thicknesses. The tensile tests showed an increase in material stiffness after exposition. This study demonstrates that UV aging has effects on the properties of the polypropylene polymer.
Keywords: UV-aging; nonwoven geotextile; polypropylene; thermal analysis; thermal properties.