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Can Xenon Support Automotive Interior Component Testing According to DIN 75220?

DIN 75220 – Solar Simulation for Automotive Components

DIN 75220 - Ageing of automotive components in solar simulation units - was first published in November 1992. It has been extensively applied worldwide and because of its many test methods has influenced the quality level of car manufacturers in a way hardly any other standard has. DIN 75220 specifies 12 test methods, 6 of them for periodic cycling and the other 6 being steady state long-term tests. Two of each type are written for exterior and four of each type for interior components. DIN 75220 has further become an important reference for numerous industrial test specifications to test automotive components.

Xenon or Metal Halide?

Although DIN 75220 does not specify the light source, the de-facto standard for this method always has been metal halide lamps. They are ideal for large scale solar simulation testing because of their

  • good simulation of the complete solar spectrum in the UV, visible and IR wavelength regions
  • high light efficacy.

Since recently, we have occasionally received the wish for using filtered xenon-arc test equipment for the long-term interior tests according to DIN 75220, in particular cycles D-IN1-T and D-IN1-F. The intention is to test small to mid-size displays for cars.

Solar Test Boxes

Best practice for automotive interior testing – either applying a cycling or a steady state test – is using customized solar test boxes. Those test boxes are installed inside walk-in chambers with metal halide solar simulators on top. Equipped with original car glass they enable highly realistic indoor conditions for simulated solar radiation, temperature, humidity, airflow and - particularly important - the actual micro-climate condition within a real car, where these test boxes allow installation of the specimens or complete instrument panels in their intended service position.

Customized solar test box, courtesy of imat-uve

In-Service Position of Components

The in-service position of a component is indeed critical. Let’s for example look at the large instrument/center display in the image. The display frame, top, and top backside (~105 °C) will receive much higher levels of solar radiation compared to the display front, middle, and lower part (~75 °C). A quite complex temperature profile is created. Achievable inside a solar test box, however impossible to achieve inside a xenon (flatbed) chamber.

Temperatures inside a car, imat-uve, SKZ Weathering Symposium 2020

Only in combination with selected metal halide solar simulators, which provide realistic spectral energy in the critical wavelength bands of IR-A and IR-B, component in-service testing can achieve sufficient correlation of the real interior microclimate for this specific test. On the other hand, existing xenon technology provides premium spectral performance for automotive UV-durability testing - proven since decades.

Another challenge for xenon devices are the 80 °C chamber air temperatures (CHT) requested by cycles D-IN1-T and D-IN1-F. Commercial xenon weathering devices are typically limited to CHT ~70 °C. In other words, they will not meet the specs until specially modified.

The Answer

“Can xenon support automotive interior component testing according to DIN 75220?” My answer is: “Not really”. Xenon's strengths remain in the benefits required for UV durability testing. However, professional aging testing of vehicle interior components is more dependent on the correct temperature profile (specimen size, shape, position) and microclimate condition.

More Information

Ageing testing of automotive interior components under solar environmental stress is a vast subject that is only briefly touched. For more information, we recommend our guides on

and our recorded seminar on automotive interior and exterior test methods.