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Weathering testing

Weathering tests: examine the colorfastness of a product

You have designed a beautiful new product, but it is not yet clear to what extent the materials used may discolor under the influence of light and moisture. When performing a weathering test, we place the product in a climate chamber with artificial light, heat and moisture so that you know whether the product meets the desired ISO standards.

On this page you can read what a weathering test entails and which different weathering tests we offer.

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This includes a weathering test

Products that are used (also) outdoors are exposed to light, moisture and heat. This will cause product discoloration over time, but it is virtually impossible to predict when discoloration will manifest itself.

With a weathering test (also called a lightfastness test or colorfastness test), sunlight, high temperatures and rain are simulated at an accelerated rate so that a process of years is simulated in a much shorter time. So after this test, it is clear what customers can expect from the colorfastness of your products.

M2LAB offers two different weathering tests, the QUV test and the Xenon Arc test. These most common ISO standards followed are ISO 4892-2 or ISO 4892-3 and ISO 16474-2 or ISO 16474-3. For textiles, ISO 105-B04 or ISO 105-B02 is often followed.

In addition to ISO standards, ASTM standards are also often used. The most important of these are ASTM G154 and ASTM G155.

Want to have your product tested according to the ISO 4892 or ISO 16474 standard?

The QUV test

The QUV test uses only light from the UV spectrum. By default, this is UVA light (340 nm), but UVB light (313 nm) is also possible. This weathering test simulates the years-long influence of sun and moisture on a coating or plastic over several weeks.

Sometimes testing is done with continuous light, but mostly with alternating light and dark periods combined with water vapor. How long the light and dark periods last depends on the standard being followed.

The QUV test is according to ISO standards ISO 4892-3 and ISO 16474-3.

The Xenon Arc test

Formerly known as Weather-o-meter test, or WOM test, the Xenon Arc test is the most reliable test for simulating the years-long influence of sunlight and moisture on a product. Unlike the QUV test, this Xenon Arc test uses the full spectrum of sunlight. Both UVA and UVB and visible light are simulated with a Xenon lamp.

This weathering test can also be combined with water spray and/or filtering through glass (a window glass filter).

The Xenon Arc test can be performed according to ISO standards ISO 4892-2 and ISO 16474-2.

Which weathering test is most appropriate?

Because it is impossible to predict in advance which test best simulates the defects that will occur in practice, a combination of both weathering tests is usually used to estimate the service life of a material. This involves placing one test panel in the QUV test and another test panel in the Xenon Arc test.

Want to know which test applies to your product?

Implementation of the weathering test

Our QUV weathering tests are typically performed on panels approximately 150×80 mm in size. The xenon test usually on 80×50 mm samples. These test panels are placed in a so-called quick-expansion cabinet, after which these samples are irradiated and possibly wetted according to a set procedure.

To assess the samples, any surface damage is identified. If necessary, possible changes in color or gloss are also measured.

Duration of tests

There is no way to predict how long testing is required to simulate 5 or 10 years of sunlight. In fact, when simulating aging processes, anomalies can occur. Many of our customers use the rule of thumb that 1000 hours of testing roughly corresponds to a year of full sun in Western Europe.

In addition, the test time is also very dependent on the material and how the product is used. Normally, for example, a bicycle is not always outside, because most people put a bicycle in a shed regularly. So in principle, you could then also test for a shorter time. In the case of the popular loan bikes, however, this is not the case, because these bikes are almost always outside. The result of 1000 hours in the weathering test, compared to a normal bicycle, will therefore have to be interpreted differently.

Call +31 (0)13 463 06 88 for more information on turnaround times for your required weathering tests.

Want to have your product tested according to the ISO 4892 or ISO 16474 standard?