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The performance concept is used as a basis for discussing the limitations of artificial “weather” chambers as devices to assess the durability of organic building materials. Problems of prediction are shown to be inherent owing to the relations between the climatic factors and the rate processes involved in most weathering degradation. The increased use of outdoors exposure testing is advocated with attention to specimen type, whether commercial product or prototype, and the use of results, whether for compliance or guide for design as expounded in Australian Standards.
A new quantitative description of climate as it relates to photo-oxidation of organic building materials is described in terms of a “solar weathering index” for use in research and development. The role of simple quality control tests as complementary to outdoors exposure tests also is outlined, the results with a simple ultraviolet (UV) lamp test reported, and proposals for a simple chalking test described.
performance concept, durability, artificial exposure chamber, climatic factors, solar weathering index, outdoors exposure testing, quality control testing, ultraviolet radiation, building materials
Senior principal research scientist, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Melbourne, Victoria