Solar Radiation

This test is used to evaluating the effects of direct exposure to sunlight (solar spectrum and energy levels at sea level). It is used to:

Determine the heating effects of direct sunshine on products.
Identify the photodegradation (actinic) effects of sunlight.
Heating Effects
Solar radiation generates directional heating and thermal gradients. The amount of heat absorbed or reflected depends primarily on the roughness and color of the surface on which the light is incident. Changes in the intensity may cause components to expand or contract at different rates which can lead to severe stresses and loss of structural integrity. Typical results of these stresses are:
Jamming or loosening of moving parts.
Weakening of solder joints and glued parts.
Changes in strength and elasticity.
Loss of calibration or malfunction of linkage devices.
Loss of seal integrity.
Changes in electrical or electronic components.
Premature actuation of electrical contacts.
Changes in characteristics of elastomers and polymers.
Blistering, peeling, and delamination of paints, composites, and surface laminates applied with adhesives.
Softening of potting compounds.
Pressure variations.
Sweating of composite materials and explosives.
Difficulty in handling.
Photodegradation Effects
Fading of fabric and plastic color.
Checking, chalking, and fading of paints.
Deterioration of natural and synthetic elastomers and polymers.
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