What is Hydroysis…?

I was having a discussion with a colleague about material drying and asked this question the other day by his co-worker…

You guys keep referring to hydrolysis, what is it and how does it affect the material?

My Response
Basically, hydrolysis is the process of breaking the water molecule into a positive hydrogen (H+) atom and a negative hydroxide (OH-) molecule. These powerful ions can react with the atoms of many different polymer chains. When these ions attack the polymer chains, they often cause the chains to breakdown, resulting in degradation of the polymer. In other cases, these ions attach to the polymer chains and interfere with the inter-molecular forces between the chains. In either case, the hydrolysis causes a reduction of the polymer strength and often affects the appearance of the molded part.

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