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Proficient UV Light Stabilization Systems

Donald Rosato – Dec 14, 2009

The earth's atmosphere absorbs much of the total energy from the sun. Solar energy that does reach the surface of the earth ranges in wavelength from 300 to 2500 nm (nanometers) and consists of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light or radiation. Plastic materials typically need protection from the damaging effects of solar radiation, and also in-turn, are used to provide solar protection and heat management in a range of applications from packaging to automotive and building/construction. Plastics systems have been developed to absorb and scatter UV light with minimum impact on the plastic materials transparency to supply product protection in packaging applications. Plastics packaging companies are fueled by the desire for greater product differentiation, and the industry is becoming more demanding as transparency is increasingly used in conjunction with special effects and deep colors. Other plastic systems have been designed to reflect infrared light (IR) from dark colored plastic materials in order to minimize solar heat build-up in durable plastic products. Because IR-light comprises more than half the total solar energy reaching the earth's surface, an object's IR-reflectivity is more important than color when it comes to solar heat management. This ability for dark colored plastics to stay cool extends product life, enhances user comfort and reduces energy requirements for air-conditioning in automobiles and buildings. A recent technology example is a new solar and heat management system, PlexiGlas CoolTouch, recently introduced by Evonik Industries, which is a heat reflecting PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) molding compound that reduces the heat buildup of dark plastic surfaces in outdoor applications by 13-22%.

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