USA Automobile Interior Material Testing - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 931959
Recent approaches in the USA to test automobile interior materials have been based on artificial simulation of sunlight with xenon arc lamps. The necessity to receive results in short time periods and the limitations of available equipment resulted in test specifications that utilized filter systems that allowed unnatural, short wavelength exposures to determine lightfastness of materials. Test methods such as SAE Standard J1885 have been commonly used for years to determine acceptability of textiles and flexible plastics.
In the 1990's, improvements by equipment manufacturers enabled development of new test methods utilizing more conservative filters that provide better approximation of natural sunlight. Also, higher irradiance levels at controlled test chamber and sample temperatures enabled correlation to the existing procedures, without sacrificing time or schedules to complete the test. SAE Standard J2212 is an example of this improvement.
The major concern of suppliers to the automotive industry is the length of time necessary to complete the tests. As materials become more durable and automotive manufacturer's strive for longer life expectancies without color abnormalities, the test durations have increased. The resulting effect on suppliers is added costs to warehouse product until the qualification test is complete to ensure that the material will be acceptable to the buyer. The urge to satisfy this concern has led to further advances in accelerating the tests to achieve the necessary dosage of ultraviolet radiation in the shortest possible time.