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    Effect of Deep-Ocean Environment on Plastics

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    As part of a research program to determine the effects of the deep-ocean environments on materials, the U.S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory (NCEL) placed various plastic materials, such as Teflon, polyethylene, delrin, acrylics, etc., in rod form and vinyl plastics in tube form on the sea floor of the Pacific Ocean. The specimens were exposed for periods up to two years at depth of 5640 ft and one year at depth of 2370 ft. When recovered from the sea, the plastic specimens were examined for biological deterioration and marine growth. These plastics were also tested for hardness and moisture absorption. Many of the plastic specimens were damaged by marine boring organisms. Teflon absorbed the least amount of moisture while cellulose acetate absorbed the most amount of moisture during the exposure period.


    biodeterioration, deep ocean, fouling, slime growth, marine organism sediment, marine microorganisms, marine borers, Xylophaga washingtona, plastics, rubber, glass, electrical cable insulation, wood, ropes, hardness test, moisture absorption test, evaluation, tests

    Author Information:

    Muraoka, JS
    Senior project scientist, U.S. Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory, Port Hueneme, Calif.

    Committee/Subcommittee: G01.09

    DOI: 10.1520/STP32011S