Plastic materials are often used for outdoor applications such as architectural glazing, mass transportation interiors, and marine dock fenders. Certain plastics such as acrylic, Ultem®, PVDF, and PTFE are inherently UV stable. However, most plastics exhibit color change and embrittlement (loss of tensile elongation) when exposed to UV light.
Degradation from outdoor exposure is accelerated in the presence of humidity and at low latitudes where the sunlight is more intense. Atmospheric pollutants can also accelerate the weathering of plastic materials.
The outdoor weatherability of many polymers can be improved through the use of UV stabilizers and/or coatings. For example, adding carbon black to HDPE greatly enhances its outdoor weatherability.
For plastic sheet materials, it is also possible to apply a UV resistant cap layer to protect the polymer substrate from degradation. This approach is often used to improve the weatherability of ABS sheet.
Review the list of Curbell’s weatherable plastics and compare properties to find the best material for your outdoor application.
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