Accelerated Aging follows the well-characterised Arrhenius relationship that states that the rate of a chemical reaction is dependent upon the temperature at which it occurs.
Ageing of polymers is due to slow reactions proceeding slowly over time. Therefore, conditioning a plastic product (e.g. Packaging) at a temperature higher than the usual baseline storage temperature can be used to demonstrate the effect of time on the product in a short duration.
ASTM 1980 Accelerated Ageing of Sterile Barrier Systems for Medical Devices presents an approximation calculation to account for the ageing of plastics when the actual reaction kinetics are not known. These ageing studies are used to bring your product to market sooner than allowed by depending on real time studies alone.
Ageing studies should be assessed in the context of a full package validation, as transport simulations at the beginning and end of the shelf life may also need to be demonstrated.