Instrument Panel Weatherability 880506

The purpose of this paper is to review current laboratory test methods for conducting artificial weathering of vinyl/foam composites as specified by major automotive manufacturers for instrument panel components. Critical test parameters for each method, including spectral irradiation (ultraviolet, visible, and infrared components), light/dark cycles, ambient temperatures, black panel temperatures, and moisture levels are reviewed. The mechanisms by which these test conditions are controlled are discussed. The subjectivity of criteria used to judge whether test results are considered passes or failures are discussed and alternative quantitative methods suggested. The need for uniform weatherability test standards throughout the automotive industry is considered in terms of the implications on automotive supplier material development efforts. The technical validity of commonly chosen test parameters used to accelerate weatherability studies is revisited for the purpose of understanding how the test results correlate to actual instrument panel weatherability in the field.


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