How Can We Predict Long Term Durability?

February 2015

It might seem obvious, but the best way to prove a coating will perform in a specific environment over time is to paint the vehicle and evaluate it every few months.

 

The problem is that it would take years to develop and test new technologies.

 

If a coating needs to last 10 years in Arizona, manufacturers have to find faster ways to test for UV exposure besides driving around Tucson all day for ten years. This is where accelerated lab testing becomes crucial. Accelerated testing is used when designing coatings for specific uses and for desired durations. The coatings industry has developed a battery of accelerated tests to subject paint to harsh UV rays, corrosion, humidity, and more. All of the testing is designed to mimic nature, but increase the harshness of the exposure to achieve results quicker.

 

There will never be a direct correlation in accelerated testing because the variables that a vehicle experiences on the road can’t be matched in a lab. However, the correlations become more closely connected as the tests mimic natural events over time. The accelerated tests are used mainly to compare different coatings and different ingredients in the coatings in a reasonable amount of time. For example, the QUV accelerated test uses a bulb that mimics the strongest UV rays emitted from the sun and emits them at a more intense level to speed up damage to coating samples. The chemists then can evaluate which combination of ingredients provides the best result. This allows coating manufacturers to promote products with excellent durability without 5 to 10 years of testing.
 

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