UV stabilizers fight the deterioration of plastics over time. Deterioration from exposure to daylight, UV light, high temperaturesor contact to oxygen. Deterioration, although slow, is noticedin a plastic that can go from color change (fading, staining) to breaks in otherwise intact structures.

Engineered plastics like polyamides, polyesters, polycarbonates are used in applications exposed to constant UV radiation. To keep their originally designed properties over a long period of time, UV stabilizers are required. Fortunately, plastic UV stabilizers are constantly changing, and keeping up with innovation, regulation and consumer demands requires constant attention. By understandingthe function of various UV stabilizers for your design application you can take this critical first step in the design process. Then understand the innovations, regulations and product changes which come with constant consumer product changes.

Engineered thermoplastics such as polyamides are mostly used in open air applications require long term UV stabilization. Compounds like polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) are used in car exteriors requiring reliable color stability. Polyurethane based end uses like automotive interiors: trims, dashboards, driver controls (steering wheels and switches), window sealants, seats and cabin plastics all the way to the floor mats, are susceptible todegrade in everyday normal heat and sunlight. Material degradation results in color changes and material cracking. Both are unacceptable quality issues which need engineered solutions.

Care should be taken when choosing UV stabilizers for use together with efficient light-blocking solutions. High atomic weight stabilizers give undeniable high temperature dependable results at typical application temperature (i.e., car interiors in warm climate locations). To prevent color tonechanges (particularly yellow staining), BHT-free materials can be used with HALS formulations. Sulfur-containing organicmaterials utilized as thio-synergists are known to lessen the light stability level when HALS are used, and significant levels ought not be chosen.

Why Is UV Absorber Innovation Needed?

The plastics formulation world is constantly changing. Plastics are the most useful product in today’s consumer driven economy. But there are challenges to overcome (environmental, regulatory) as well as new product applications. There is also the constant push for: better, cheaper, faster, and easier which drives every consumer sector today. Finally, companies are constantly competing for new business. This competition essentially drives plastics additive suppliers to strive harder. Here is where UV stabilizer for plastics can be used for innovation and make a big difference.

Environmental Changes

Accumulation of plastic waste and global warming are not new. These trends are continuing to worry governments and industry leaders. Awareness and the scale of the problems are making news as they have in the past. With more awareness, the visibility of long-lasting plastics is also a big problem. With problems, solutions are a big opportunity. We are going to see more solutions of UV “degradable or time limited” additives. We are still waiting for a breakthrough in chemical or biological material formulation.

Regulatory Changes

With the issues of dealing with plastic waste and long-lasting UV stabilized formulation, regulatory bodies are not leaving solutions to the industry. Essentially, if industry does not self-regulate, government will force regulation on the producers. We have seen this in developed western markets and we will see more of it in developing markets as well. Here manufacturers of UV stabilizers for plastics need to keep an open eye.

Image Source: BigStockPhoto.com (Licensed)