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Stabilizing agricultural films: a question of balance

SpecialChem / Oct 15, 2003

Polymer greenhouse films are widely used around the world for crop production and most of these are based on low density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) or ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) with a thickness of 80-220 ┬Ám. Generally, films are required to last for periods of one to five years, during which they need to retain flexibility, toughness, and in some cases, translucency. But exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation degrades these properties and without protection, polymer films can be made useless within the space of a few months. Therefore UV stabilizing packages are vital to ensuring a polymer film will live up to these requirements. In many cases films come into contact with agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, in which case they must be able to resist attack. Ideally, UV stabilizers used in agricultural film need to have a high inherent light stability, low volatility and should not interact with other additives such as antifogging agents or thermal insulation compounds, says UV stabilizer manufacturer Cytec Specialty Chemicals.

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