The decrease in visible and ultraviolet transmission spectra of polymeric and glass spacecraft materials has been measured to determine the extent of degradation due to high-energy UV radiation similar to the solar spectrum (both above and below the stratosphere, which is where most of the UV radiation is absorbed). This project looked at the effects that the atmosphere has in regards to blocking UV radiation and thus, slowing down the UV degradation process. A polycarbonate sample was exposed to radiation from a focused high intensity deuterium lamp source, which generates radiation in the UVA and UVB spectrum. A particularly severe effect might result from atmospheric oxygen exposed to intense UV radiation, which can produce atomic oxygen. The materials’ UV/VIS/NIR transmission spectra ( ̴200nm to 1700nm) were examined with a fiber optic spectrometer to determine the effects of being exposed to the radiation and to the pressure of atmospheric gases.
Gamaunt, Katie, "UV Degradation of Polycarbonate" (2017). Physics Capstone Project. Paper 51.