The change in absorptivity during the degradation process of materials is discussed, and its influence as one of the involved parameters in the degradation models is studied. Three materials with very different behaviors are used for the demonstration of its role: a carbon composite material, which is opaque, almost grey, a plywood slab, which is opaque and spectral-dependent and a clear PMMA slab, which is semitransparent. Data are analyzed for virgin and degraded materials at different steps of thermal degradation. It is seen that absorptivity and emissivity often reach high values in the range of 0.90–0.95 with a near-grey behavior after significant thermal aggression, but depending on the materials of interest, some significant evolution may be first observed, especially during the early stages of the degradation. Supplementary inaccuracy can come from the heterogeneity of the incident flux on the slab. As a whole, discrepancies up to 20% can be observed on the absorbed flux depending on the degradation time, mainly because of the spectral variations of the absorption and up to 10% more, depending on the position on the slab. Simple models with a constant and unique value of absorptivity may then lead to inaccuracies in the evaluation of the radiative flux absorption, with possible consequences on the pyrolysis analysis, especially for properties related to the early step of the degradation process, like the time to ignition, for example.
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