On items whose colors fade from sun, where does the color “go”?


On items whose colors fade from sun, where does the color “go”?

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It fades! The chemical compounds that are that colour get altered by interacting with sunlight, which makes them not that colour anymore. The more molecules have been altered, the less colour you see.

It’s less “color went away” and more “color machine broke”.

The color of objects is determined by what it’s made of. Very specific molecules and molecular structures are what cause certain colors to be reflected from objects. Think of all items as being “dyed”, to some extent.

What the sun does is it spews a constant stream of high-energy light rays (ultraviolet or UV rays). If it falls on your skin, you get sunburned, right? These rays are harmful to certain chemicals. The light particles crash into them and cause them to be smashed to pieces. If that happens to the dye molecules in particular, the dye can no longer do its light reflecting job and it stops reflecting the color it used to reflect. Ultimately, this causes UV to have a bleaching effect, because many of the dyes we use in manufactured materials are susceptible to being smashed up by UV rays.

Color isn’t a physical thing with volume and mass, it’s a result of how light interacts with different substances.

UV light is very energetic and has a tendency to degrade some compounds – meaning that over time, a significant amount of the surface turns from the original chemical into various other ones, which might be a different color.