Xenon Arc testing is great for studying the durability and performance of materials. But how does it work? Around here, we’re always ready to chat about Xenon. Let’s take a closer look.  

Xenon Arc testing is a type of accelerated weathering test that simulates the damaging effects of sunlight, heat, and moisture on materials. Test substrates are exposed in a controlled environment that replicates the conditions experienced in the real world. 

The testing process uses a Xenon Arc lamp- which emits a spectrum of light that closely resembles natural sunlight. The test substrates are placed in a chamber where they are exposed to this intense light- plus cycles of moisture and temperature changes. These cycles further accelerate the deterioration process and simulate the effects of weathering over time. 

Xenon test chambers emit about 0.55 W/m2 light energy per hour- which equates one year of south Florida exposure to about 2,360 hours in the cabinet using a cycle of 2 hours light to 1 hour dark with humidity. 

Xenon uses filters to control the spectrum of light that reaches the test samples. This allows researchers to simulate different outdoor environments: sunlight, shade, and indoor lighting conditions. 

Daylight Filters 

These filters are most commonly used. They are available in a variety of grades to match different geographical locations and seasons. Daylight filters are made of borosilicate glass and effectively filter uV radiation between 150 and ~290 nanometers.  The 290 nm cutoff closely resembles natural sunlight. 

Window Glass Filters

Window glass filters are used to evaluate materials exposed to sunlight through a glass media- like a car windshield. 

Extended UV Filters

Extended uV filters permit deeper uV transmissions as compared to natural sunlight. They are used to accelerate the weathering process and to test materials that are exposed to harsh environments, such as automotive parts and aerospace materials. 

ACT's Xenon Test Methods 

ASTMD7869 Xenon Exposure Test Enhanced Light / Water Exposure for Transportation Coatings 

SAEJ2412 Accelerated Exposure of Automotive Interior Trim Components Using Controlled Irradiance 

SAEJ2527 Accelerated Exposure of Automotive Exterior Materials Using Controlled Irradiance 


With so many new coatings and substrates becoming available, Xenon testing is a great choice to examine the effects of natural light in an accelerated fashion. As more capacity becomes available for testing, companies should look at adding Xenon, with the right filter, to their product testing. 


Scott Crosley is a 28-year veteran in the paint and coatings industry. After a long career at Sherwin Williams, Scott currently serves as the Vice President – Business Development & Sales at ACT Test Panels. 

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