To prove how durable Covet’s timber look aluminium cladding really is, we subjected our Ever Art Wood® to one of the toughest accelerated exposure tests on the market - the Xenon Arc Test to standard SAE J2527 for colourfastness. Read about the ins and outs of Xenon Arc Testing and why it’s considered so tough, and how well Ever Art Wood® performed after the equivalent of 12 years of outdoor weather exposure.
When it comes to cladding, one of the most important considerations for designers and specifiers is the durability of the chosen material and suitability for specific environmental conditions. While many would like to opt for the timeless warmth and charm of a timber finish, wood (even treated wood) can degrade relatively quickly when exposed to intense weather patterns.
This can dull the attraction to wood finishes on exterior applications due to the need for ongoing maintenance to maintain the aesthetic. A real timber look without the maintenance while keeping the same good looks the day it was installed. Impossible? Possible.
Specifiers can now confidently specify a timber look finish and asset owners can have a virtually maintenance free, worry free timber façade.
Covet Ever Art Wood® is an aluminium batten and panel cladding series with realistic timber finishes that offer a maintenance free, dimensionally accurate, lightweight alternative to timber and steel. Ever Art Wood® is specifically designed to outlast wood and keep its shape and colour even after years of exposure to tough weather.
About Xenon Arc Testing
Xenon Arc Tests are a form of Accelerated Exposure Test – an important component in determining the durability, versatility and reliability of exterior grade products. There are numerous test types and standards that are applicable depending on the material. Xenon arc testing uses an advanced form of weatherometer – a device used to accurately simulate the conditions of harsh weather including light, heat, oxidation and moisture. In these weatherometers, the traditional carbon arc lamp is replaced by the xenon arc, which provides a more realistic simulation of the harshness of direct sunlight during testing.
A xenon arc is a precision gas discharge lamp that utilises a sealed quartz tube to reproduce weathering effects. A long arc lamp (where the arc length is greater than the arc diameter) simulates solar radiation more precisely than any other artificial light source – making it a perfect tool for accelerated exposure testing. During a Xenon Arc Test, the xenon arc light itself simulates the sun and controls brightness, humidifiers provide moisture and heaters control temperature. By increasing and decreasing these variables, the full spectrum of damaging weather conditions can be simulated to greater extremes than would occur in the natural world and accurate results determined in a fraction of the time.
Figure 1: Settings on the Atlas Ci4000 weatherometer for the Covet Ever Art Wood® test.
About the Standard - SAE J2527
SAE J2527 (formerly SAE J1960) is a performance-based standard for accelerated weathering using Xenon Arc apparatus. It was created by SAE (The Society of Automotive Engineers) as a standard for testing exterior automotive parts, meaning it is one of the toughest tests for durability and colourfastness. The test utilises practice ASTM G155, which delineates the process for applying repetitive cycles of light and moisture during testing. ASTM G155 can be used to define parameters like overall exposure duration (hours), the timing of light and moisture exposure, or the temperature of moisture exposure. SAE J2527 requires the use of reference polystyrene chips as a means to monitor the test performance. The chips are also exposed to weathering at a specific set of time intervals, and their colour change is monitored in response. This provides a control for the test and baseline for test results.
Testing Covet Ever Art Wood®
- Testing duration: 9648 hours / 13 months
- Test machine: Atlas Ci4000 Xenon Weatherometer
- Testing Process:
- Rotating sample rack to maximize uniformity over test specimens
- Custom-designed nozzles to provide uniform specimen and rack spray.
- Simulation / Real Environment: equivalent to 10-12 years of outdoor exposure.
- Test Parameters: Use of extreme levels of UV. Temperature cycling between 38 to 70 degrees Celsius. Oscillating from high humidity to dry conditions. Refer to “Figure 1: SAE J2527- Atlas Ci4000 weatherometer test settings”.
Two material tests from Covet’s Ever Art Wood® palette were conducted – Kuri Masame (light) and Burakku Suchi-ru (dark).
Kuri Masame Test Results:
Colour Change: 4 – 5*
Change in Appearance: Nil
Exposure Amount: 10000 kJ/m²
Burakku Suchi-ru Test Results:
Colour Change: 4*
Change in Appearance: Loss of gloss
Exposure Amount: 10000 kJ/m²
*Colour change rated using grey scale ISO 105 A02, where 5= no change and 1 = significant change.
Kuri Masame – test results
After being subjected to aggressive test conditions to the equivalent of 10-12 years of external UV and environmental exposure, the Kuri Masame sample experienced minimal fading. The difference would be virtually indistinguishable to the naked eye in the live environment – unless placed next to an untested sample, as seen in Figure 2.
Burraku Suchi-ru – test results
The second material sample in Burakku Suchi-ru also experienced minimal change. Darker in colour with a slightly higher gloss than the Kuri Masame sample, the Burakku Suchi-ru test sample showed a slight dulling of gloss presenting a more matte finish. This can be seen in Figure 3, on the bottom right of the tested sample that was not exposed to UV. The colour of the wood wrap has not faded.
The Ever Art Wood® test samples recorded virtually no to minimal change in colour or appearance throughout the duration of the testing – proving them to be highly durable and well-suited to exterior applications. However, due to the convincing realism and textural finish of the timber look wrap finishes it is also specified for interior applications. The Ever Art Wood® Series comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty for outdoor applications.
In contrast to real timber, Covet aluminium battens won’t split, warp or expand, require no intensive maintenance or surface preservation, and are not vulnerable to insect damage. This makes Ever Art Wood® an excellent cladding option in scenarios where durability, weather resistance and ongoing maintenance and asset life is a factor.