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ACCELERATED WEATHERING | TESTING


Although legacy test protocols may be entrenched, industry is working to improve weathering test equipment and methods to obtain faster results and better correlation to real-world outcomes. Jennifer Markarian reports


Speeding up weather testing


In the real world, the potentially detrimental effects of high temperature, intense light, aggressive chemicals, and other environmental conditions on the integrity and appearance of plastics will usually take place over an extended time. Companies developing plastics materials, additives, and parts, however, can’t wait that long to find out if their product will perform as needed. Accelerated testing speeds up the effects of degradation to be able to compare different formulations and, in some cases, attempts to approximate performance in actual conditions. Long-term degradation such as wear, heat aging and environmental stress cracking can all be analysed, but perhaps the most complex and widely used procedure is accelerated measurement of weathering. Accelerated weathering testing options include


www.compoundingworld.com


outdoor exposure in extreme environments, such as Florida (hot and humid) or Arizona (very hot and dry); accelerated outdoor exposure using mirrors and/or rotating devices to increase the amount of direct sunlight; and accelerated laboratory testing inside chambers using lamps (to simulate the effects of light and heat) and water spray (to simulate rain or dew). Traditional lamp types for accelerated laboratory weathering include fluores- cent UV and xenon arc. Xenon arc lamps produce the full spectrum of


light, but filters can be used to target specific wavelengths and simulate conditions such as daylight, sunlight through a window, or indoor light. The Atlas Right Light Glass Filter, for example, was designed to better match Miami sunlight. This filter is being more widely adopted since its


December 2018 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 65


Main image: The ability to speed up weathering tests is essential to ensure long term colour and mechanical stability of exposed plastics


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK


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