Biodegradation of polymeric materials affect a wide range of industries, information on degradability can provide fundamental information facilitating design and life-time analysis of materials. Among the methods currently used in testing, traditional gravimetric and respirometric techniques are tailored to readily degradable polymeric materials mostly and polymer blends with biodegradable components, but they are not applicable to the new generation of engineering polymers which are relatively resistant to biodegradation. However, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) has been tested for monitoring biodeterioration of high strength materials and the technique has very high sensitivity. A wide range of materials including electronic insulation polyimides, fiber-reinforced polymeric composites (FRPC's) and corrosion protective polyurethane coatings have been successfully measured under inoculation of degradative microorganisms using EIS. In addition, the mechanism of degradation of high strength polymers is mainly due to the presence of plasticizers in the polymer matrices. The information on various methods discussed in this review is intended to illustrate a suite of methods for those who are interested in testing biodeterioration of polymeric materials under different environmental conditions and in selecting appropriate techniques for specific applications.
- Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy