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"Weatherability" is a term that is used to describe how stable a polymer is with respect to changes in appearance or physical performance in an outdoor application subject to the standard environmental stresses of UV radiation, visible light, water contact/absorption, dirt accumulation, bacterial growth, etc.
Acrylics are categorically very stable with respect to these stresses. The Solarkote® acrylic capstock resin and film product lines have been engineered to impart these advantages to less environmentally stable polymers.
The Solarkote® acrylic capstock resin and film product lines are an extremely effective means of screening UV radiation (< 400 nm) light, while maintaining near-perfect optics for the visible spectrum (Figure 1). UV radiation is a very important contributor to the reduction of appearance or physical properties of any polymer that is exposed to the environment.
It is critical to understand that Solarkote® acrylic capstock resin and film is UV opaque, but visible-light transparent. If a pigment system or polymer is degraded by visible light, then the Solarkote® capstock may slow the degradation, but not stop it completely. Always use pigment systems that are stable with respect to UV and visible light. Contact your pigment/color concentrate house or substrate supplier to determine if the intended substrate is degraded by visible light (400 nm to 750 nm).
It is impossible to evaluate every combination of color system, capstock thickness and substrate polymer with respect to how things will perform under real time and accelerated weathering systems.
Altuglas International has invested significant resources building a catalog of weatherable pigment systems and modifying the Solarkote® polymer chemistry to offer the most environmentally stable surfacing systems to the heavy-gauge sheet and profile extrusion markets. Production part performance can be affected by non-Altuglas International color concentrates, extrusion conditions, sheet surface textures, polymer cross contamination and poor thermoforming process.
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