You perhaps are aware of the main effect of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on humans. Or better still experienced some of the effects.
If you are unlucky – you have ended up with a red nose after a day out in the sun.
It is not only our skin that suffers, polymers and plastics are equally affected by exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation.
Here we will cover the following
- Dangers of UV rays,
- UV energy,
- Plastics that are vulnerable to degradation,
- Detecting UV attacks on plastics,
- Anti UV chemicals,
- And UV-resistant polymers.
Let’s get right into it!
What are the dangers of UV rays?
UV is a part of electromagnetic radiation. The ultraviolet radiation is split into three types. These are:
The UV rays cause the destruction of plastics and health problems in humans. Here are some health problems associated with UV rays.
Most skin cancers arise from unprotected exposure to UV radiation. Skin cancer has also been linked to man-made sources or UV radiation
This UV radiation causes the skin to become thick and wrinkled. Over 90% of the visual skin, changes are caused by the sun UV radiation. Proper protection from UV radiation can stop premature aging.
Cataracts and other forms of eye damage are a result of UV radiation. Cataracts cause loss of transparency in the eyes lens vision. Uv radiation increases the likelihood of cataracts. These can be protected by proper eye care glasses.
Science says that over-exposure to UV radiation inhibits the proper working of the body’s immune system. Overexposure to UV radiation can weaken the immune system reducing the skin’s ability to fight diseases.
How is Plastic Affected by UV?
When absorbed by plastics, UV energy can excite protons. Then, degradation occurs, as catalyst residues act as receptors.
Lots of pure plastics fail to absorb UV radiation, risking your project and its components.
How to Avoid UV Degradation
You, avoid UV degradation in plastics by using blockers, stabilizers, or absorbers. Benzophenones and other organic compounds can also absorb UV light and emit it as heat.
A few examples of materials where UV stabilizers can eliminate the problem of UV deterioration include:
Most of these materials are not UV resistant. They have to be specially treated. Why buying your products, check for UV-resistant details.
Another material is carbon black that offers black coloration and reduces the risk of degradation. It provides protective surface coatings. The carbon black is a low-cost option.
Which Plastics are Susceptible to UV Degradation?
Many plastics are susceptible to degradation. The 2 plastics with increased risks are
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
The ultraviolet rays react with carbon bonds within the chain structure. It then interacts with oxygen in the atmosphere. Thereafter the carbonyl groups in the chain are produced. The parts or components exposed become prone to discoloration and cracking.
Detection of UV Attack on Plastics
If the plastic has been affected by ultraviolet rays, you may notice a
- Chalky appearance
- Surface component becoming brittle
- Change in color on the surface of the material
Is there a way such UV interference can be detected early?
The signs are cracks in a product. These signs can be detected by infrared spectroscopy. It works to detect carbon groups before they cause problems.
How UV Chemicals Help
The anti UV chemicals can be used when mixing the ingredients before using injection molding to shape the product. This protects a future UV attack by way of sunlight can be prevented.
The chemicals used in preventative measures have similarities to those used in sun cream. The sunscreen protects the skin from UV rays attack. Similarly, the UV stabilizers added to plastics act in the same way.
But it isn’t solely UV rays that pose a risk to plastics. Other environmental conditions such as light, heat, and chemicals play part in the degradation of plastics used in your projects.
Changes to the polymer are also caused by acids, alkalis, and salts. This results in chemical disintegration or biodegradation. These changes can reduce the molecular weight of a polymer.
The Good and the Bad Plastics
Polypropylene isn’t suitable in projects which will be exposed to UV rays. This because of the chemical structure of polypropylene. It degrades highly when exposed to UV light. In instances where a component will be subjected to long-term UV exposure, you should steer clear of such materials.
Polypropylene manages six days before losing 70% of its strength as a result of UV rays.
You should ascertain the materials you need well in advance of your project. Consider the application of the component and the environment it will be used.
Polyester is a good candidate for UV exposure. The performance of these plastics when compared to polypropylene is great.
If plastic is to be exposed to direct sunlight, the manufacture must specify suitable testing standards and make sure the plastic has appropriate formulation to maintain the desired long-term properties.
The greatest effect in the prevention of UV degradation occurs as a result of good design – that which minimizes the UV exposure and good materials selection.
What are suitable choices of materials for UV-exposed applications hold well?
Knowledge of the effects of UV-C exposure on various materials is useful to manufacturers and users of UV products.
As a reliable UV stabilized products manufacturer and supplier, we offer a 5-year warranty. So, if your netting or tarpaulins cover fail under normal applications, we can offer you a free replacement service within a warranty period.
Since we use top-quality material that is UV stabilized, our products are unlikely to degrade within the period. Therefore, you can enjoy a long time by choosing our products.