Are you familiar with polypropylene (PP) and UV resistance? The main difference between both terms is that PP is a family of plastics used in various applications, such as consumer products or packaging, and UV resistance is an attribute that these items can possess.
In the modern day, polypropylene is widely utilized in the plastic industry. For instance, it is possible to find it in the automotive and textile industries. Some of these products are UV-resistant and can endure ultraviolet light to a certain degree.
We will explain what you need to know about polypropylene and UV resistance, including the most common applications and the importance of ultraviolet resistance.
What is polypropylene (PP)?
Polypropylene, or PP, is one of the many thermoplastics that exist. It is an “addition polymer” that is obtained through the blend of diverse propylene monomers. It is used in different applications, including consumer goods and plastic parts for several industries.
PP was first used in the industry in 1951. After three years of being introduced in the market, it quickly became the standard in the industry. Since then, it has been used in different applications for several reasons.
Some of the most common characteristics associated with polypropylene are the following:
- Chemical resistance – PP products are chemical resistant. It is because diluted bases and acids do not react with the material, which is why it is common for containers for certain cleaning or first-aid products to be made from polypropylene.
- Elasticity and toughness – Polypropylene is quite elastic, but it is also considered due to the plastic deformation it undergoes while deforming. It is considered to be “though” because you can mold its shape without necessarily breaking it.
- Insulation and transmissivity: PP is quite resistant to electricity, which is why it is prominently used to manufacture electronic components. Furthermore, it is transmissive to a certain degree, making it possible for light to go through it without problems.
Again, polypropylene is a thermoplastic. Therefore, it will become liquid whenever it reaches around 130Cº. However, this characteristic is not necessarily bad – it is actually beneficial. It is possible to heat thermoplastics, cool them, and heat them again without too many significant differences in the material’s quality. Hence, PP is recyclable to a certain degree.
Why is polypropylene so used?
Propylene is prominently used in the industry for several reasons. It has unique properties and can adapt to several fabrication methods, making it possible to create many products out of it with similar resistance and characteristics. Furthermore, polypropylene can work as a fiber (one common example are tote bags).
Since propylene can be the subject of different methods and is useful in diverse applications, it quickly became one of the industry standards. After all, it has many useful characteristics that could be useful in our daily life.
What is UV resistance?
The next term is UV resistance. It refers to the ultraviolet light exposure that certain materials can endure. Polymers like TPE are quite resistant to UV, but, unfortunately, that is not the case for polypropylene.
As mentioned, it is an attribute that polymers have to a certain degree. In the case of polypropylene, it may not be the best material to be exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods due to its low melting point. Polypropylene is not very resistant to UV light, which means that after a while, it will ultimately start melting.
Since polypropylene has low UV resistance, it is more prone to deteriorate when exposed to direct sunlight and should not be subject to it. That does not mean that PP is useless. It is still prominently used, but it is often advised to the consumer not to place it in areas with high UV exposure.
Polypropylene and UV resistance are deeply related terms. As PP is a type of plastic, it has a determined level of UV resistance. It is quite low compared to other plastics, which means it should not be exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Otherwise, it will deteriorate pretty quickly.
In addition, the main difference between polypropylene and UV resistance is that the former is raw material, and the latter is an attribute of said material.