Polymer solutions

Polymer solutions

How can we make plastics more sustainable? Among other things, by guaranteeing a long service life. That is why we are researching the degradation and service life of plastic products. With innovative solutions, we gain insight into the possibilities of extending service life, reducing the need for raw materials, saving the user costs, and reducing the recycling frequency for companies.

Research methodology and project examples

We test degradation and durability by exposing polymers to accelerated ageing by means of high temperatures or UV light. Then we measure the changes in the properties. Based on this, we give an indication of the expected service life. Projects examples include our research into ProRail communication cables and the KWR Water Research Institute's plastic water pipes.

Material degradation during recycling

Material degradation can also occur during recycling processes. This may deteriorate the quality of the recycled material or cause the formation of chemical substances in the product. Certain chemicals negatively impact the service life of the recyclate (the end product of recycling). Understanding degradation mechanisms during recycling improves the quality and applicability of recycled polymers, for example, for new packaging applications. By also measuring the quality of the recyclate during recycling, we can better control recycling processes.

An employee in a factory sorts and recycles plastic.


The topic of interest regarding degradation of plastics has shifted recently. First, we looked at service life issues, but now we are looking at the effect of degradation on our environment, for example, the formation of microplastics. It is becoming increasingly clear that this goes hand in hand with the degradation of plastics in the environment. With our research and innovations, we are contributing to a solution.

Comprehensive research

We look at the entire chain regarding these issues, from the degradation mechanism to impact on use and environment. We carry out accelerated ageing tests in our lab. We then measure the changing properties using various analysis techniques. For this, we use both mechanical and chemical tests.

Mechanical tests

With mechanical tests, we measure surface hardness. For example:

  • tensile or torsional load
  • impact strength
  • indentation measurements

Want to know more?

Download our whitepaper 'Don't waste it! Tackle the dark side of plastics with urgency'.

Get inspired

20 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Microplastics and packaging: reduction is achievable

31 August 2023

Plastic packaging is indispensable and simultaneously a significant source of microplastics. Discover the effective measures we are collaborating on with the industry.

Upwash technology: Improve quality of plastic waste


Currently, only a small proportion of the plastic we use every day is recycled. Reusing more plastic waste requires innovative technologies that can recycle plastic as efficiently and effectively as possible. The Upwash concept devised by TNO is one such technology, which is now being further developed and made ready for scaling up.

From #plasticfree to future-proof plastics

15 June 2023
1 aflevering

On June 5th, we co-hosted a webinar with Fraunhofer UMSICHT, 'From plastic-free to future-proof plastics', where we shared insights from our whitepaper 'How a future-proof, circular and sustainable plastics economy should look like'.

Time setters during the Ocean Race: a healthier world without microplastics

15 June 2023

Between 11th and 15th June 2023, the Ocean Race visited The Hague. TNO was present and provided an explanation of microplastics measurements during the race.

Microplastics in clothing: research into reducing textile fibres


Textile is the fifth largest source of microplastics. TNO has developed a new measurement technique to identify microplastics in textile.