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The chemical breakdown of a material due to the absorption of radiant energy, such as visible or ultraviolet light. Photodegradation usually involves the formation of free radicals. Free radicals can initiate a chain mechanism that may continue even when the source of energy is removed. Some compounds such as aldehydes, ketones azo compounds, and organometallic compounds are susceptible to photodegradation.

Synonyms and Related Terms

photodecomposition; photochemical decomposition; photochemical deterioration; photolysis

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • ASTM, Standard Terminology Relating to Natural and Artificial Weathering Tests of Nonmetallic Materials, Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 14, General Methods and Instrumentation, ASTM, G113, 1371-1373, Sep-94
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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