Is ABS plastic UV stable?

Why is ABS plastic used in various industrial applications? Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a thermoplastic created by combining polymers of styrene, acrylonitrile, and polybutadiene rubber. This plastic is durable, tough, and ideal for applications requiring high impact resistance. As a result, companies across the country, including northern and southern Mexico, are taking great advantage of it.

This publication explains why ABS plastic is becoming a popular choice for industrial applications and engineering projects. Whether you are in Nuevo León, Querétaro or Toluca, ABC plastic can serve your company.

Which UV-resistant plastics do not degrade in sunlight?

When choosing the best plastic for your needs, it is important to consider environmental factors that could limit the useful life of your product or plastic part. For outdoor applications, ultraviolet radiation is one of the leading causes of plastic degradation in outdoor equipment. Fortunately, there are several plastic materials available on the market that are UV resistant.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause significant degradation of many materials. UV radiation causes photooxidative degradation that results in the breakdown of polymer chains, produces radicals, and reduces molecular weight, causing deterioration of mechanical properties and resulting in useless materials after an unpredictable time. Almost all synthetic polymers require stabilization against adverse environmental effects. It is necessary to find a means to reduce or prevent damage induced by environmental components such as heat, light, or oxygen. A wide variety of high synthetic and natural content polymers absorb solar ultraviolet radiation and undergo photolytic, photooxidative, and thermooxidative reactions that result in the degradation of the material. UV radiation causes photooxidative degradation that results in the breakdown of polymer chains produces radicals, and reduces molecular weight, causing deterioration of mechanical properties and resulting in useless materials after an unpredictable time. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, UV, can cause significant degradation of many materials. UV damage is commonly the main reason for discoloration of dyes and pigments, weathering, yellowing of plastics, loss of gloss and mechanical properties (cracking), sunburned skin, skin cancer, and other problems associated with ultraviolet light.

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Photodegradation is the degradation of a photodegradable molecule caused by the absorption of photons, particularly the wavelengths found in sunlight, such as infrared radiation, visible light, and ultraviolet light. However, other forms of electromagnetic radiation can cause photodegradation. Photodegradation includes photodissociation, the breaking of molecules into smaller pieces by photons. It also includes changing the shape of a molecule so as to irreversibly alter it, such as denaturing proteins and adding other atoms or molecules. A common photodegradation reaction is an oxidation. Photodegradation in the environment is part of the process by which ambergris evolves from its fatty precursor. Photodegradation also destroys paints and other artifacts. Light-induced degradation or photodegradation of polymers includes the physical and chemical changes caused by irradiation of polymers with ultraviolet or visible light. To be effective, the light must be absorbed by the substrate (polymer system). Therefore, the existence of chromophoric groups on macromolecules is a prerequisite for the initiation of any photochemical reaction.

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Mechanism of photooxidative degradation of polymers

Photooxidative degradation of polymers, which includes processes such as chain scission, cross-linking, and secondary oxidative reactions, takes place through radical processes, similar to thermal oxidation reactions.

UV-resistant plastics

Plastics used in outdoor applications are exposed to harsh weather conditions. These applications often require a weather-resistant plastic material capable of withstanding the negative effects that ultraviolet radiation can have on the appearance and mechanical properties of plastics.

Therefore, it is usually advisable for weathering plastics to have some form of UV resistance, as UV rays can greatly affect materials that are used outdoors and exposed to the elements.

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Inherently UV-resistant plastics will not normally show changes in appearance, such as:

Yellowing of the plastic
Leaching of dyed plastics
Discoloration of the plastic surface
The appearance of stress cracks

Nor will they undergo changes in their mechanical properties, such as:

Increased brittleness
Decrease in strength, elasticity, and toughness
The appearance of stress cracks

Normally, the UV resistance of plastics is achieved through the use of additives, such as UV stabilizers, black colorant (usually carbon black is used) or protective coatings on the surface (such as paint or metallization). The addition of carbon black is an economical and generally very effective way to achieve UV-resistant plastics. In addition, fluorinated polymers, such as PTFE and PVDF, show very good UV stability in their natural state.