Irradiation of polymers results in a variety of reactions including crosslinking, polymerisation, grafting or degradation.
These reactions will result in changes in the characteristics and performance of synthetic polymers that will make them, for example, more resistant to high temperatures, wear and chemicals, or easier to process further. These polymers can then be used safely in demanding conditions that they would otherwise not be able to withstand.
The modification of polymer products is the largest volume application of irradiation. They are used in a huge range of high-performance products and materials. Examples include: insulation for wires and cables used in the automotive, rail or aerospace industry; pipes and tubing used in water and gas supply; foams, heat-shrinkable films or tubes, moulded parts and composite materials used in construction and in many other industries.