Polymers below their glass transition temperature (Tg) are non-equilibrium glasses because excess free volume “frozen” between kinetically-restricted polymer chains slowly relaxes over time towards equilibrium via local, segmental chain motion. This process, known as physical aging, is observed through time-dependent decreases in a polymer's specific volume, enthalpy, etc. This article focuses on the history of glassy polymers in membrane separation applications. Open questions regarding the influence of thickness (e.g., membrane geometry) and temperature on physical aging in glassy polymers are highlighted.
- Glass transition
- Physical aging