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UVC Radiation is Used to Disinfect Surfaces. Materials Need to be Tested Against this New Degradation Stress.

UVC Disinfecting Robot

UVC Disinfection Robot.

A New Stress Factor for Materials Durability

Conventional laboratory weathering simulates solar radiation, heat, and moisture in a worst-case, realistic, and accelerated way. But with the fight against corona, a new aggressive stress factor on materials was introduced: short wavelength UVC radiation. The high energy UVC photons never reach the earth’s surface because they are filtered out by the ozone layer.

UVC light has been used for decades to disinfect water, air, pharmaceutical products, and surfaces against pathogens. Now, this technology is used to sterilize surfaces in buses, cars, planes, hospitals, hotels, or schools. Textiles, coated surfaces, plastics, and other materials may degrade much faster than expected when exposed to this new stress. Therefore, a suitable accelerated ageing test method against UVC is critical to avoid premature product failure.

Atlas UVCTestTM – A Tailored Testing Solution
Atlas UVC Disinfectant Material Degradation Testing Device
In September 2020 Atlas launched a new lighting technology for UVC testing using low pressure mercury lamps type UVC-254. Actually, this is the most widely used radiation source of UVC disinfection robots and UVC handheld devices. The UVCTest device is designed to test the durability of materials exposed to UVC radiation centered at 254 nm. It is based on the original UVTest
fluorescent/UV platform.


  • Chamber door safety switch
  • Radiation-blocking gaskets/brackets
  • Patented irradiance calibration access ports


  • Backer boxes for multiple and single specimens
  • UVC irradiance measured and controlled
  • Reference black panel temperature sensor
  • Light/dark cycling

Test Parameters:

  • Irradiance Range:    2.0 - 7.5 mW/cm2
  • Black Panel Temperature:   35 - 80 °C
  • Test capacity:    48  3” x 6” specimens

Exposed Materials Must Withstand UVC

The effects of UVC radiation on materials have become a growing concern for materials scientists due to the increased demand for disinfection since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While many polymers are engineered to be durable under normal outdoor/indoor sunlight, the effect from UVC exposure is largely unknown.

The results of few studies have been published to date, and current test methods that exist require revisions to be applicable today. The Atlas UVCTest can be used as a tool for durability testing to determine a material’s resistance to UVC.

Atlas is also developing a “UVC Test Duration Calculator” to determine appropriate times to expose materials based on a number of variables.

Handheld UVC Germ Sterilizer

Handheld UVC Germ Sterilizer.

More Information

A specific UVC materials durability testing standard has not been published. To fill this gap, Atlas created “Guidelines for UVC Testing to Assess Durability of Materials Exposed to UVGI (UV Germicidal Irradiation) Treatment”. Download free Application Guide.

UVC Testing of Materials

For more information and a deeper dive into materials durability testing against UVC radiation, listen to our free recorded Atlas Online Seminar.

For more information on weathering in general and environmental durability testing for specific applications, check out our complete live online seminar program.

Listen to recorded webcasts.