Ultraviolet (“UV”) radiation in space presents a host of problems for spacecraft – from performance degradation of materials to full on component failure. On Earth, despite the presence of a protective atmosphere, UV radiation is known to damage the DNA within our cells.
To counter these challenges, researchers at Zhejiang University and South China University of Technology have developed a new glass-based composite material made of cerium oxide that’s exceptionally effective at absorbing UV radiation. According to the researchers, the clear cerium oxide coating can block UV radiation and withstand extended exposure without degrading, making it well-suited for a wide array of applications in space and here on Earth.
In space, UV-busting cerium oxide coatings could be used on virtually any and all surfaces – from electronics, to fuselage panels, to windows, and beyond. The researchers note that the coating “can be easily fabricated in bulk form or as a film”. On Earth, cerium oxide coatings could potentially be used in an even wider array of applications – from building envelopes, to eyewear, to paints, sunscreens, and much more.
Given the abundance of cerium oxide over-production globally each year – particularly in China – this novel new application is encouraging. As always, we’ll follow this and other emerging end-uses closely and inform clients of any significant developments they should be aware of.
Friday, June 3, 2016
 
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