• Why does my furniture fade in sunlight?
    The PhotoPROBE from Analytix offers UV testing capabilities.

Laboratory Products

Why does my furniture fade in sunlight?

Aug 08 2022

Faded furniture and carpets, over time we all notice it. We all have our favourite seat on the sofa and walk the same route across the living room to the kitchen leading to general wear and tear. Then we have the back of the sofa and the patch of carpet that we never walk across but both fade anyway. Chances are they are exposed to direct sunlight?

Over time, polymers such as polypropylene, nylons and polyesters (the most common in carpets) along with pigments and dyes utilised in the manufacturing process of carpets and furniture will undergo photooxidative aging (UV degradation). The chances are, apart from discolouration occurring, there is also a slow release of harmful VOCs being released into the home.

This represents an analytical challenge to manufacturers of the materials utilised in production of such products. During the R&D stage, materials likely undergo accelerated UV weathering testing in a Xenon Arc Machine. This helps to determine how a material will perform over time, it is however a lengthy test taking weeks or even months plus provides little chemical information as to why a product may fail.

Using the CDS PhotoPROBE with UV testing capabilities from Analytix it is possible to expose a material to a combination of heat, humidity and high intensity UV light. During the exposure we automatically collect the VOCs evolved and desorb to GCMS for analysis. This provides R&D chemists a level of information not previously obtainable and allows them to look at the chemistry as to why a particular material may not perform well under UV exposure. Better still, the whole analysis takes less than one hour to complete.

So next time you open your curtains and let the sunlight flood in, do you ever wonder what is in the air that you breath?

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