This article provides a basic review of polymer photochemistry as it relates to the weatherability of engineering plastics, considering the chemistry induced by exposure to sunlight in open air. Elementary aspects of weatherability chemistry that are discussed include the light wavelengths responsible for polymer photochemistry, problems with artificial light sources, general photooxidation and specific photochemical reactions important in plastics, and the factors influencing the rate of degradation. The approaches used to stabilize plastics against photochemical damage, including ultraviolet light absorbers, oxidation inhibitors, and the use of protective coatings, are also considered.
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