UV: Potential Long-Term Danger for your Plastics

When enjoying summertime activities like sitting by the pool or playing a round of golf, it is always advisable to wear sunscreen. Did you know you should apply “sunscreen” to your plastics to protect them in the same way you protect your skin? Protecting your plastics from UV helps prevent physical degradation, discoloration and mechanical failure of your products.

  • Primary antioxidants stabilize a polymer both during extrusion and during use. For example, if a product is destined for use where long term heat exposure is expected (such as under the hood applications for automotive parts), you will see the primary AO’s shine.
  • When sunlight (containing UV light!) hits a material, it can either be reflected, absorbed, scattered, or transmitted. When this UV energy is absorbed into a polymer, it may start a degradation cycle leading to broken chemical bonds in a polymer.
  • When these polymer chains become damaged, the polymer may become discolored or lose physical properties. In extreme instances, UV can even cause your plastics to fail entirely. Some warning signs that UV is beginning to degrade your products are chalking, crazing and discoloration.

Colortech offers numerous products that aid in preventing this cycle and protecting your plastics from degradation. UV Inhibitors such as Hindered Amine Light Stabilizers (HALS) work by targeting different unstable chemical species through this cycle and neutralizing them preventing further degradation of your polymers. UV Absorbers work by absorbing the UV light and converting that energy to heat. As a result of this, a combination of UV Absorbers and HALS is often highly effective in protecting your polymer products.

  • UV Absorbers work very nicely in food packaging applications by protecting the contents of your package from harmful UV rays.
  • Colortech offers a variety of UV protection packages designed for your process and application to provide extended protection of your structures.
  • Finally, UV impacts different regions of the world in different ways. Arid regions prone to extreme amounts of UV will require more UV stabilization compared to other regions to provide the same longevity.

Contact a Colortech Sales Representative for information about how our UV additives can help you. Our Technical Service team will help design the right package depending on your region and needs. For other stabilization necessities, ask us about our UV & AO combination products.


Joseph Swann

Sales Representative