Does plastic exposed to UV rays become damaged? Some consider that the sun’s ultraviolet radiation breaks down the plastic molecules, making them brittle and prone to cracking. Others say that the UV rays help to preserve the plastic, keeping it from becoming faded and brittle.
So which is it? Does UV radiation damage or preserve plastic? Simply Plastics looks into this, and the answer may surprise you.
There are two different types of plastic used in consumer products – thermoplastic and thermoset. Thermoplastics can be melted down and reshaped multiple times, whereas thermosets become permanently hard after being heated once. The theory that UV radiation damages plastic is based on the assumption that it only affects thermoplastics. However, there hasn’t been any conclusive research to prove whether or not UV rays damage plastic.
Many people have pointed out that vinyl siding and car windshields tend to fade over time when exposed to sunlight, but this isn’t necessarily because the UV rays from the sun break down the molecules in these materials. Instead, the sun’s rays may be altering the configuration of these plastics, making them more susceptible to cracking and wear. It is also possible that environmental factors such as humidity or temperature changes can make plastic more sensitive to UV radiation.
How Can I Protect my Plastic From the Sun’s Rays?
People often wonder whether plastic is damaged by UV rays. The answer to this question depends on the type of plastic you’re using and how much exposure it receives. Most plastics are susceptible to some degree of damage from ultraviolet light, which comes in two types, UVA and UVB.
While both can affect your plastic, UVA rays are more intense and penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays. To protect your plastic from the sun’s damaging effects, try covering it with a coating that provides anti-UV protection or storing it in a dry, dark place where it won’t be exposed to sunlight.
The first step in protecting your plastic from UV damage is determining what kind of plastic you’re using. Different types of plastic have different levels of resistance to the sun’s UV rays. For example, your typical water bottle is made from PET.
This material is resistant to UVA radiation but not UVB radiation, so you may notice that clear bottles turn more opaque when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. Other plastics, like acrylics are highly resistant to both types of UV light, while PVC and PE are susceptible to moderate levels of damage from UV exposure.
The fact is that no one knows for sure whether or not UV radiation damages thermoplastics. Until researchers can study this in a controlled lab environment, we won’t know for sure what effect it has on plastic products. So if you want your plastic items to last as long as possible, store them out of direct sunlight! While it may not help significantly over time, keeping vinyl siding or car windshields away from direct sunlight will ensure that they retain their colour and resist cracking as long as possible.