Research

Compatibility of Aircraft Interior Surfaces with 222 nm Far-UV Light Exposure

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Evaluation finds mostly superficial effects.

To ensure safe air travel, there is a strong interest in using 222 nm Far-UV light to disinfect aircraft interior surfaces. However, the impact of 222 nm Far-UV light exposure on the mechanical properties of aircraft interior materials, as well as their color and appearance, has not been previously evaluated. This is because airplane interior materials are not normally exposed to wavelengths of light that are shorter than 280 nm. To understand the impact of 222 nm Far-UV light exposure, we evaluated a comprehensive set of materials used for aircraft interior parts. Specifically, this study included material samples for parts in the galley, passenger cabin, lavatories, and crew rest. These samples were extensively exposed to 222 nm Far-UV light to simulate and evaluate the impact of an in-service, UV disinfection program over the lifecycle of an aircraft. The evaluation found mostly superficial effects on the materials after exposure, affecting only their color and appearance. Even severely discolored material samples maintained desired mechanical properties and met key specification requirements such as tensile strength, elastic modulus, breaking strength, and flammability.