UV Stabilizers

Definition - What does UV Stabilizers mean?

UV stabilizers are substances that are used in order to prevent a chemical process referred to as "photo degradation" which occurs when ultraviolet radiation coming from an artificial light source or the Sun collapses chemical bonds within a polymer.

With the use of these stabilizers, the symptoms of physical destruction or corrosion are avoided, including:

  • Chalking
  • Cracking
  • Changes in color

Corrosionpedia explains UV Stabilizers

UV stabilizers generally act by absorbing the radiation coming from the UV light and then dispersing the energy into heat at low levels.

Numerous synthetic and natural polymers can be subject to attack by UV radiation. Hence, products or materials that are made from polymer may disintegrate, crack or go through destruction when they are not UV stabilized. The degradation is related to ultraviolet light and is very evident in materials and equipment that are exposed to sunlight. Constant exposure to UV rays can be a severe problem since the damage is dependent on the amount of exposure.

In this case, polymers are subject to attack and these may include polypropylene, such as in industrial ropes. The UV reacts to the bonds to produce free radicals that activate further with the oxygen in the environment, generating carbonyl chains. When this happens, the exposed areas of the products may undergo cracking, discoloration and in some cases, total destruction. Other common examples of polymers that are highly susceptible to UV radiation include Kevlar or Aramid fibers.

The problems associated with UV degradation can be detected through infrared spectroscopy. Once the problem is identified, adequate protection must be applied before more serious damage occurs. This is where UV stabilizers come into place. These stabilizers can be used to prevent UV attacks with the addition of chemicals to protect against UV light. These are mixed into polymer products before the final shaping or molding.

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