Plastic resistance to UV disinfection
The corona pandemic is a driver for the use of UV-C-based disinfection devices, e.g. in airplanes or supermarkets. In this process, various polymers are exposed to high-energy UV-C radiation. Therefore, the durability of plastic products to UV-C radiation is the focus of the current CCPE research.
Commercially available UV-C -based disinfection devices use mercury-vapor lamps (wave length l =254 nm) or UV-C LEDs (in wavelength range 260 nm < l < 280 nm) and are already used in many places such as trains, airplanes, supermarkets and public buildings. A wide variety of plastics, from seat covers to packaging to wall coverings, are exposed to this high-energy radiation. There is usually no effective protection of materials against UV-C radiation, since polymers for indoor applications are at most weakly stabilized against UV radiation. Furthermore, it is still unclear whether current stabilization concepts against UV-A and B radiation also provide protection against UV-C radiation.
At Fraunhofer LBF, CCPE researchers are investigating the durability of plastics under UV-C irradiation in order to identify critical application scenarios, understand mechanisms and develop solution concepts for stabilization. They help manufacturers of polymers and plastic products to be better prepared for the future requirements of UV-C irradiation and to be able to take material engineering measures in good time to safeguard product service life.
The question of possible stabilization concepts is to be investigated in the near future at the Fraunhofer LBF as a part of a joint industrial project.
Harald Oehler (email@example.com, Phone +49 6151 705-8669)
 UV-C: high-energy ultraviolet radiation with wavelengths between 280 nm and 100 nm.