Comparative study between natural exposition trial and accelerated ageing of polyethylene films for greenhouses.

Orden Susana, Goldberg Martha1, Quartino Rómulo, Mascarini Libertad, Landini Ana, Malleville Horacio y Bottini Lucila

The use of plastic cover for greenhouses allow crops cultivation under glass in unfavorable seasons for field cultivation, with greater control of production, resulting in greater yield, quality and price of the product. The optical and mechanical properties of polyethylene films, of four commercial origins, were evaluated, exposed outdoors, and to an accelerated aging equipment, following laboratory, with the procedures of the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM). It was measured the transmitted light and widespread light (haze) percentage in the photosynthetically active zone (400 - 700 nm ) with a LI-190SA sensor. The mechanical properties, elongation and tension to the maximum load, were measured with the INSTROM machine, model 1125. The samples were exposed outdoors in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during two years, and were withdrawn every six months. It was considered the criterion that a plastic material is aged, and therefore it is not suitable for use, when the held value of a characteristic property is 50 % or less than the initial values. It was determined the correlation factor between the natural and the accelerated exposition trial. It was studied the evolution of properties in terms of the accumulated solar radiation. The optical properties were not significantly modified during the exposition, so it was concluded that the evolution of the mechanical properties was more representative in the aging process.

Keywords: plastic, optical properties, mechanical properties.
1 Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Agronomía, Buenos Aires, Argentina. E-mail:margold@ciudad.com.ar.