All materials and products used in the outdoor environment are constantly exposed to varying weather conditions, the effects of which can be detrimental over time. Although ultraviolet (UV) light makes up only about 5% of sunlight, it is responsible for most of the sunlight damage to polymer materials exposed outdoors. Add moisture to the hazardous effects of sunlight, whether it be from dew or rain, plus changes in temperature, and you have weathering occurring to your product.
One of the best ways to determine how products and materials will endure years of weather is to subject them to Accelerated Weathering Testing in an indoor laboratory. For this, Westpak employs a Q-Lab QUV chamber which exposes test coupons and small assemblies to a combination of UV light, hot water vapor, and/or water spray during long condensation cycles to accurately reproduce the damaging effects of sunlight, dew, and/or rain over time.
Reliable and reproducible weathering data can be generated in just a few weeks with excellent correlation to outdoor weathering tests. Significant savings in time and expense are therefore achieved compared to outdoor testing.
The QUV chamber utilizes fluorescent UV bulbs to simultaneously simulated UV damage, water vapor to simulate dew, and water spray to simulate rain. UV bulbs of various frequencies can be used to customize the UV exposure. The chamber’s direct water spray feature can be used for testing samples to thermal shock and the resulting mechanical erosion.
(1) Q-Lab QUV Accelerated Weathering Tester