The effects of ultraviolet radiation on vehicles can be seen daily on our roads. The most obvious example is the fading visible on red vehicles such as Post Office vans. Whilst all colours are affected by UV, the effects on red and orange materials are most severe. As all industries strive to use more environmentally friendly products, UV protection is no longer a simple fix.
UV causes damages to many materials such as plastics and polymers. The damage caused can take the form of chalking, cracking, peeling, fading and loss of colour. The severity of this damage varies depending on the material sensitivity and the environment that materials are subjected to.
When UV radiation breaks a polymer down the surface is more susceptible to mould. Dirt pick up is increased often causing pronounced staining of the sealant and body side of the vehicle.
To test for robustness, a QUV accelerated weathering tester may be used by adhesive manufacturers. This replicates the damage caused by sunlight, rain, and dew (See What Is QUV – ASTM G154 And How Does It Work for further details).