Causes of Polymer Degradation in Automotive Applications
The automotive industry relies on the use of polymers for a range of applications and components. These polymers must withstand the harsh conditions to which they are exposed during service to maintain their physical and surface properties. Several factors contribute to polymer degradation in automotive applications, and it is imperative for OEMs to consider related risks when designing and processing polymers. Choosing the right polymer additives for a specific application is essential to avoid polymer degradation and deliver optimal performance. Solvay’s high-performance UV stabilizers and antioxidants deliver superior protection to polymers against degradation to improve the durability of automotive components for interior and exterior applications.
What is Polymer Degradation?
Polymer degradation involves a change in the properties of polymers as they are exposed to natural elements during their service life. The changes are often gradual and negatively impact the stability of polymers, resulting in the deterioration of surface, physical and mechanical properties over time. In automotive applications, polymer degradation can lead to increased risk of excessive VOC emissions, fogging, odor, color fading, and surface crazing, among other issues.
Weathering of Polymers
Weathering also plays a role in the degradation of thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO) automotive parts. Exterior car parts, such as bumpers and door trim, are routinely exposed to natural elements, continuously enduring exposure to UV light and extreme temperatures. Polymers for automotive interior applications, including instrument panels, dashboards and seat back covers, are also vulnerable to UV light and extreme temperatures. After long-term exposure to these elements, components can discolor and begin to deteriorate. Early signs of weathering degradation include fading and discoloration.
Exposure of Polymers to Pollution
Air pollution can also serve as a catalyst for degradation in polymer-based automotive parts. Pollutants from car exhaust, as well as general air pollution, accelerate polymer degradation, especially in exterior applications, such as bumpers and door trim. Chemical degradation compromises the integrity of the polymer chains that make up the component, which significantly decreases performance capabilities and longevity, and may also jeopardize overall vehicle safety.
Solvay Stabilizers and Antioxidants for Automotive Plastics
Solvay’s range of polymer additives for the automotive market offers OEMS and plastic producers an extensive selection of versatile UV stabilizers and antioxidants enabling long-term performance enhancement.
For example, Solvay’s CYASORB® CYXTRA® product range is specially designed for polymers used in interior and exterior automotive applications to help meet and exceed industry standards. These innovative polymer additives provide cost-effective protection against the most common forms of polymer degradation.
Specifically, CYASORB® CYXTRA® V9900 is engineered to protect polyolefins against damage from long-term exposure to UV light and does not contribute to fogging, odor and VOC emissions.
CYASORB CYNERGY SOLUTIONS® V703 is an automotive UV stabilizer that provides polymers with exceptional UV resistance to maintain superior gloss, color and physical property retention.
Additionally, CYANOX® 2777 antioxidant is well-suited for polyolefins used in automotive applications and promotes excellent thermal resistance.
For more information regarding our polymer additives for automotive: