Solar Radiation Testing

Sample Undergoing Extended Solar Exposure
Why Manufacturers Must Consider Solar Radiation in Product Design
Applied Technical Services performs solar radiation testing for clients who need to determine the effects of sun exposure on their samples. A product’s intended service conditions may expose it to a variety of environmental stimuli, many of which can negatively impact a material’s long-term performance characteristics over time. Intense light, high or low temperatures, temperature variations, humidity, salinity, air pressure, and exposure to electromagnetic radiation can each undermine the very characteristics that initially led a product designer to choose one material over another.
Effects of Extended Sunlight Exposure
Being in sunlight, whether direct or indirect, means being exposed to multiple environmental stimuli. The elevated temperature and exposure to the solar spectrum — comprised of infrared (IR), visible light, and ultraviolet (UV) waves — that come with solar radiation can cause a wide range of product failures, including:
  • Color fading or loss of gloss in coatings and plastics
  • Molecular degradation (oxidation) in plastics
  • Structural distortion in plastics, vinyls, and metals
When combined with other factors endemic to an outdoor service environment, such as temperature variations and humidity, solar radiation can contribute to the following effects as well:
  • Delamination of plastics, plasticizers, coatings, and vinyls
  • Reduced ductility for plastics and vinyls
  • Embrittlement for plastics and coatings
  • Chalking in plastics
  • Cracking of plastics, vinyls, and coatings
If the product’s intended service conditions entail regular exposure to sunlight, its longevity and success depend on its materials’ resistance to the effects of solar radiation. Clients send samples of their design materials and components to a capable solar radiation testing lab. like ATS to ensure that their final product meets relevant quality control, industry standard, and consumer safety requirements. We have the tools and expertise to meet a wide variety of testing needs.
How Solar Radiation Testing Works
Solar radiation testing entails exposing a sample material or component to simulated sunlight — bright light, heat, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation applied in amounts replicating months or even years of exposure to solar radiation. By carefully controlling the intensity of these stimuli, the duration of each exposure, and the number of cycles administered according to the pertinent test specifications, our technicians can assess the sample’s survivability over time. We regularly perform this method of testing according to VDA 230-219, MIL-STD 810G Method 505.5, MBN 55555-5, and DIN 75220 (the last of which falls within our ISO 17025 accredited scope). Our staff also has experience performing solar radiation testing to other standards and client specifications, so we encourage potential customers to reach out regarding the scope of our capabilities if their requirements do not conform to those mentioned above.
ATS’ environmental testing division houses the advanced equipment that we use to perform this method. The walk-in solar simulation chamber test space measures 10’×10’×8’, allowing us to accommodate large samples. Our technicians use it to expose both interior and exterior components to both direct and indirect simulated solar radiation at the same time.
About ATS

Applied Technical Services offers testing, consulting engineering, and inspections capabilities to clients operating around the world. Our company has enjoyed exponential growth over the 50+ years since our founding — no longer a group of three engineers, ATS now represents a multidisciplinary firm with locations across the United States. We owe this good fortune to the ongoing efforts of our hardworking employees. Over 1,000 technicians, scientists, chemists, inspectors, investigators, calibrators, trainers, and Professional Engineers lend their services to answer the varied needs of our clientele.

Of the many industries we regularly serve with our other environmental testing services, the ones that benefit most frequently from our solar radiation testing capabilities include:
  • Oil / Gas
  • Aerospace / Aviation
  • Insurance / Legal
  • Consumer Products
  • Communications
  • Commercial Properties
  • Defense / Military
  • Manufacturing
  • Chemical
  • Automotive
ATS Labs and Lab Experts Deliver Quality Assurance
Our environmental testing division performs all solar radiation testing services under our ISO 9001-registered quality management system. Achieving this distinction required us to submit our business processes to an audit by ISO-approved inspectors, who affirmed that our procedures comply with the internationally recognized standard regarding quality assurance practices. We have maintained our ISO 9001 certification without interruption since first achieving it in 1998 by participating in regular recertification audits. ATS takes these steps not only to continually improve the quality and scope of our services but also to convey the respect we hold for our clientele by maintaining accountability.
ATS upholds the following policies to guarantee the best customer experience we can possibly deliver:
  • Testing professionals return clear, accurate, and detailed reports within a quick turnaround window. Doing so empowers clients to make timely and informed decisions based on the results of their testing.
  • Customer service representatives act as ambassadors between clients and our testing experts. When clients reach out for clarification, these customer relationship specialists facilitate contact with the most relevant staff member.
  • Lab personnel remain accessible to customers who have questions regarding the status or outcome of their testing. By being responsive and engaged when answering their needs, these experts help clients find solutions to their problems.
If your company needs solar radiation testing from an esteemed lab, contact ATS today for a free quote — We take a closer look!

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