Understanding the effects of UV on our painted surfaces.

Have you ever considered the effects the suns rays have on plastic and metal ? Whether it’s garden furniture, a tin roof on a garage or your cars paint the effects are all the same. Is there anything that can be done to provide protection?

What is UV Radiation?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds and welding torches.

Radiation is the discharge of energy from any source, of which there are many types,

  • X-rays
  • Gamma Rays
  • UV Rays
  • Radio Waves

In the spectrum of different radiation waves UV rays are in the middle, they have more energy than visible light but not as much as x-rays.

UV Radiation is divided into 3 groups, UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-C rays have the most energy and because of this they react with the ozone high up in our earth’s atmosphere and do not reach the ground, because of this we do not need to worry about these.

UV-A Rays have the least energy. The rays cause skin cells to age, wrinkle and are thought to cause some skin cancers.

UV-B Rays have slightly more energy and are the main rays that cause sunburn, these rays are thought to cause most skin cancer.

The effects of UV radiation on Paint

Have you ever noticed after time the beautiful paint on your daily driver starts to fade? Have you ever had a car where the lacquer has started falling off? Plastic trim on your car starts to fade. Garden furniture loses its colour. Or worse case still starts cracking over time and falling off the surface or falling apart!

UV Rays effect paint in 2 different ways,

UV-A Rays will dry out the resin used in the paint causing it to shrink and crack.

UV-B Rays lead to changes in colour causing fading and discolouration.

Manufacturers of topcoats nowadays are aware of the effects of UV rays and typically use acrylics and polyurethanes as these absorb UV rays slowest but if you are driving a car 30+ years that never been re-painted you will notice the effects of the rays mentioned above.

Another way to protect our vehicles paint work is to use high quality waxes to protect against UV-A and UV-B rays. Derived from palm trees in Brazil, carnauba is a hard wax that forms over the leaves to protect them against UV Rays and the sweltering sun. Leaves, through photosynthesis release oxygen into the atmosphere, so carnauba is semipermeable. This means it lets the plant “breathe”, but at the same time keeps harmful variables out. This principle works when applied to cars,  a number of products are available offering protection from UV-A and UV-B.

Plastic trim can be restored using a product to replace the oils that have left due to the effects of UV rays Polytrol Oil from Owatrol is one such product. Polytrol oil will restore the colour of dull and faded surfaces caused by exposure to rain, sunlight and pollution. This deeply penetrating oil will restore the original colour to gelcoat, plastic and metal. Polytrol will also protect against corrosion and blemishes.

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