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What happens to plastic when it is exposed to UV?

Exposure to UV causes plastics to be attacked and deteriorated. When plastic absorbs ultraviolet light, the UV energy excites the polymers’ chains, causing them to break. This causes the plastic to discolor, become brittle, and eventually to crack. Elevated temperatures and oxygen tend to accelerate the deterioration. 

To prevent this some times they add a colorant or pigment. They can also add an internal stabilizer which absorbs or dissipates the UV energy. Shading plastics from the sun will also prevent deterioration.

Title: What happens to plastic when it is exposed to UV?
Description: How UV damages plastics.
Published: 11/28/2007
Last Edited: 11/26/2019
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