Plastic Materials That Are UV Stable
Some of our most popular questions include “Is this material UV stable”, or “How long will this last in direct sunlight”, or something similar.
These are great questions. Just look at the ‘cheap’ backyard furniture you bought last year at the big box store, yep, it is faded and cracking. Why is that?
The quick answer is the material had either no UV (Ultra Violet Light) stabilizer or very, very little. Most plastic materials are not UV stable to start with, the main exception is Acrylic Sheeting which is virtually invisible to UV.
All other plastic materials need a little something extra to give it the protection it may need from the sun. Many plastic materials, if given the proper additives, can be used in direct sunlight for 10 – 15 years (or longer) giving excellent performance.
The first factor in picking such a material is the intended use. Not all materials are good candidates for all applications.
While some materials will perform very well, others under the same conditions will fail. Please contact us for details on a material to meet your needs.
HDPE sheet is one of the best materials for long term outdoor use, if given the proper additives. Next time you drive by a children’s playground in your local city, look at the brightly colored panels used to make the play equipment. This is a HDPE sheet with some heavy UV additives, and this makes an excellent application. These UV stabilized HDPE sheets are available in a rainbow of colors and are able to be easily fabricated, this material is excellent for many outdoor applications.
If your application is more mechanical and will not be exposed to direct sunlight, other materials that you might use would be: Polycarbonate, UHMW, ABS (especially with Korad cover), Acetal, Noryl and many more.
Our standard Covestro Makrolon Polycarbonate is a UV stable material in sheet, and is frequently used in replacement glazing applications. The remaining materials on the list are available in Black (a carbon black pigment) which extends outdoor usage. While still not recommended for direct sunlight, they can be used with a good possibility of success – depending on design.
Plastic materials have a tendency to become brittle or lose properties over time with sun exposure, if material does not have enough or proper UV stabilization. When using the proper material that contains the proper additives or coating, you can expect years of trouble free service.
Additionally, many materials will work well if they are painted to cover the plastic surface. Many spray paints, especially Acrylic paints, last many years in the sun. Please check with us, as some material do not accept paints or coatings.
Take some time to review your requirements, and the properties of the plastic you intend to use. The right material will provide the best performance. Contact any of our Plasticologists for assistance, call 866-832-9315 or email us. You can always do research on materials at www.iplasticsupply.com
Google+ – Hayden Hess