In this comparative study, the effect of gamma rays on the ageing characteristics of poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (EVA) and poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate)/carbon black mixture (EVA/CB) was investigated in terms of thermal stability. EVA, containing 13% vinyl acetate (VA), and EVA/CB, containing 13% VA and 1% carbon black (CB), were aged at 85°C in air up to 30 weeks for thermal ageing. Same substances were aged by means of UV light with a wavelength in the vicinity of 259 nm, in air, up to 400 h for UV ageing. Same substances were also irradiated with gamma rays at ambient conditions up to 400 kGy. Following these experiments, samples which had been irradiated with gamma rays, were subjected to thermal and UV ageing under the same conditions as for unirradiated samples.
Dynamic thermogravimetry studies were performed for determination of the thermal stabilities of the samples. 10 and 50% mass losses were calculated for the samples from their respective curves. As a result of thermal analysis experiments, it was found that CB dramatically loses its protective property against thermal ageing of EVA after gamma irradiation. On the other hand, gamma irradiation does not have any significant effect on the UV ageing characteristics of EVA and EVA/CB in terms of thermal stability.