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

14 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Quantifying plastic quality for a circular economy

22 December 2022

The gamechanger in plastic recycling: TNO has developed a model for better plastic recycling: the Quality Model for Recycled Plastic.

TNO’s view of 2030: 50% of plastics designed for circularity

12 December 2022

Our ambition for 2030: 50% plastics produced circularly. Currently, 70% of plastics are still incinerated. This can quickly be improved. Find out how.

Surprisingly, in addition to packaging, car tyres and agricultural plastic biggest sources of microplastics in the Netherlands

10 November 2022

TNO's microplastics model has identified the biggest contributors to microplastics. There is also insight for action against microplastics.

Plastic waste in Indonesia gets value in 2 new P4G projects

22 June 2022
TNO is working in a P4G's "Plastics in Circles" partnership. In two new projects we are working together on reducing plastic waste in Indonesia.

Recycled plastic begins with a good design

TNO is developing short, medium and long-term plans for plastic products that can be properly sorted and recycled.