Ultra Violet is not just the Pantone Colour of the Year! Ultra Violet light or UV as its commonly referred to, is a type of electromagnetic radiation produced by the sun and some artificial sources including black lights and fluorescent bulbs.
Across the world, the level of UV exposure varies greatly from region to region. Data provided by the World Health Organization, shows the average annual, monthly and seasonal values of the UV Index across the globe with ratings from 1 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). During the month of March, Australian cities are exposed to a UV index of 6-12 (high to extreme) with Darwin exposed to an extreme 12. Higher ratings still are recorded for Singapore and Kenya, with both exposed to an extreme 13. Our friends in the Northern Hemisphere commonly experience low levels of UV radiation at this time of the year, including Paris and Vancouver (3 – Moderate) and lower still for Berlin (2 Low) and St Petersburg (1 Low).
As countries around the world all experience different levels of Ultra Violet light exposure, it is important to understand resin-based flooring systems and their tolerance to this harsh radiation. This environmental awareness ensures the right system is selected for the specific project and its location. UV rays from the sun or a solarium can give you a glowing tan or a severe sunburn depending on the intensity of the rays and the length of exposure. Likewise, UV rays can affect resin-based flooring materials and the result will depend on the materials tolerance and exposure.
Some resin materials such as epoxy floor coatings are not UV tolerant or stable and will discolour or yellow when exposed to the elements. Epoxy resin systems undergo an adverse chemical reaction when exposed to sunlight and UV radiation, causing them to yellow, discolour and become brittle, thereby breaking down over time. This deterioration of the floor coating can break down to the bond layer and cause mass delamination.
Aliphatic polyurethane resin-based flooring materials, however, are 100% UV stable, making them suitable for external areas or floors that are exposed to natural and artificial UV light. The inherent UV stability of aliphatic polyurethane resins helps to ensure the longevity of the flooring system in external conditions. If putting down an epoxy flooring system that will be exposed to sunlight, a coloured, UV resistant and non-yellowing sealer should be applied as the final coat. Flowcrete’s Deckshield UV or similar products help to protect against damage and discolouration caused by Ultra Violet rays.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) based resin flooring systems are not only fast-curing but also offer a high level of tolerance to UV rays. As such, MMA based systems such as Deckshield ED Rapide are often used in external or rooftop car parks where they face constant attack from harsh sunlight. MMA based resin flooring systems are also a viable alternative to epoxy base coats and aliphatic polyurethane final coat systems for external applications.
To understand more about the UV Index in your region, visit http://www.who.int/uv/intersunprogramme/activities/uv_index/en/index3.html or speak to your local Flowcrete representative about our UV Stable flooring solutions.