In polymer degradation and durability studies, as well as predicting shelf-life for medical devices, one is confronted with
the need for accurate prediction and difficulties of long term real-time evaluation. Various ways to accelerate the degradation
process have met with mixed success. However, recently, in our own studies, a ‘master curve’ like behavior was found to be
valid for polypropylene samples studied. Evidently, for samples obeying the master curve, very few data points at high temperatures
can be scaled to obtain reasonably accurate estimates on long term durability.
Nevertheless, in a reference medium density polyethylene (MDPE) film material, the high temperature oxidative induction time
data appear to diverge when run under air atmosphere compared with oxygen environments. In this article, we will present data
on many of the polymer systems studied with an emphasis on extrapolation schemes for high temperature accelerated data to
lower temperature very long-term durability. In this context, polymer and antioxidant reactivity toward oxygen, morphology,
and mechanical property dependence on extent of degradation all need to be considered. And the potential and limitations of
this approach will be discussed.