Accelerated aging for testing polymeric biomaterials and medical devices

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Elevated temperature is frequently used to accelerate the aging process in polymers that are associated with medical devices and other applications. A common approach is to assume that the rate of aging is increased by a factor of 2(DeltaT/10), where DeltaT is the temperature increase. This result is a mathematical expression of the empirical observation that increasing the temperature by about 10 degrees C roughly doubles the rate of many polymer reactions. It is equivalent to assuming that the aging process is a first order chemical reaction with an activation energy of 10R/log(e)2, where R is the universal gas constant. A better approach would be to determine the activation energy for the process being considered but this is not always practicable. The simple approach does not depend on the temperature increase, provided that it is not so great that it initiates any physical or chemical process that is unlikely to be involved in normal aging. If a temperature increment theta were to increase a given polymer reaction rate n times, then an elevated temperature would increase the rate of aging by a factor of n(DeltaT/theta).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1274
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Engineering & Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


  • Polymer
  • Accelerated aging
  • Elastomer
  • Medical device
  • Implant


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