Micom Laboratories Inc. offers accelerated weathering testing services using different ultraviolet radiation sources; natural light and artificial light. Just like the erosion of rocks, natural phenomena can cause degradation in polymer systems. Polymers are used in everyday life, so it is important to understand their durability and expected lifespan to avoid property losses such as color changes and loss of mechanical properties such as tensile strength, elasticity, flexibility… These phenomena are often referred to as “weathering”. The elements of most concern to polymers are ultraviolet radiations, moisture and humidity, high temperatures and temperature fluctuations. It is important to understand that these elements of concern compound each other synergistically to worsen the aging process.
Weathering usually takes place over long time periods and people can’t wait that long to know if their product formulation will be adequate or not. UV aging is a process that can be greatly accelerated through the use of specially designed testing chambers called Weather-Ometer ®or Q-sun . While this type of testing shortens the time required to observe the results, the conditions are not always representative of real-world conditions which can impact predictability and ultimately might lead you in the wrong direction. While asking for this type of testing it is therefore important to either understand what equipment and conditions to ask for or to use a competent laboratory such as Micom Laboratories to help you define what you need specifically.
Accelerated weathering often involves many aging factors compounding each other. Most techniques focus on one or a few aging processes at once. However, there are now test methods combining different aging techniques such as ASTM D5894 that combines cyclic corrosion with QUV testing.