Significance and Use
3.1 This practice describes a weathering box test fixture and provides uniform exposure guidelines to minimize the variables encountered during outdoor exposure testing.
3.2 This practice may be useful in comparing the performance of different materials at one site or the performance of the same material at different sites, or both.
3.3 Since the combination of elevated temperature and solar radiation may cause some solar collector cover materials to degrade more rapidly than either alone, a weathering box that elevates the temperature of the cover materials is used.
3.4 This practice is intended to assist in the evaluation of solar collector cover materials in the operational, not stagnation mode. Insufficient data exist to obtain exact correlation between the behavior of materials exposed according to this practice and actual in-service performance.
3.5 Means of evaluation of effects of weathering are provided in Practice , and in other ASTM test methods that evaluate material properties.
3.6 Tests of the type described in this practice may be used to evaluate the stability of solar collector cover materials when exposed outdoors to the varied influences which comprise weather. Exposure conditions are complex and changeable. Important factors are solar radiation, temperature, moisture, time of year, presence of pollutants, etc. These factors vary from site to site and should be considered in selecting locations for exposure. Control samples must always be used in weathering tests for comparative analysis. Outdoor exposure for at least two years is required to make evident changes, such as surface degradation without the use of sophisticated analytical equipment.
3.7 Temperature conditions attained with this box may not exactly duplicate those that occur under operational conditions with fluid flow. Dependent on environmental exposure conditions, the cover plate temperatures obtained with this box may be higher or lower than those obtained under operational conditions. Additional testing under stagnation conditions, although not covered by this practice should be conducted.
Note 1: Research has shown that exposure outdoors at sites having the combination of high levels of humidity, solar energy, and ambient temperature can cause more severe degradation of some polymeric cover materials, (for example, microcracking and leaching of UV radiation screening additives) than exposure in arid climates.
Note 2: Stagnation conditions are a normal occurrence for solar collectors, for example, during operation when the storage is fully charged; when the collectors are initially installed, before system start-up; or when the system is shut down for maintenance or seasonal considerations such as heating only systems in the summer.
1.1 This practice provides a procedure for the exposure of cover materials for flat-plate solar collectors to the natural weather environment at temperatures that are elevated to approximate operating conditions.
1.2 This practice is suitable for exposure of both glass and plastic solar collector cover materials. Provisions are made for exposure of single and double cover assemblies to accommodate the need for exposure of both inner and outer solar collector cover materials.
1.3 This practice does not apply to cover materials for evacuated collectors or photovoltaics.
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.
1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.