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Understanding Photoluminescent Pigments

A Guide to Glow-in-the-Dark Technology

Photoluminescent pigments are materials that absorb energy from light and then re-emit that energy as visible light, creating a glow-in-the-dark effect. These pigments are commonly used in safety applications, such as emergency signs, and can be mixed with various materials like paint, plastic, ceramics, glass, and fibers. The pigments are not radioactive or toxic, making them a safe and sustainable choice for a wide range of applications.

How Photoluminescent Pigments Work

Photoluminescent pigments contain inorganic chemical compounds, typically composed of aggregated crystal elements. When exposed to light, these compounds absorb energy and then release it over time as a glowing effect. The pigments can absorb a wide spectrum of visible light and re-emit it, allowing them to "charge" under different lighting conditions and glow in the dark without the need for electrical power.

A Brief History of Photoluminescent Pigments

Photoluminescent technology has evolved over the decades. In the 1970s, phosphorous pigments were used to create safety markings, but they had limited absorption capacity and required electric power to boost their glow. In the 1980s, stronger pigments made of zinc sulfide crystals were developed. However, the real breakthrough came in the 1990s with the introduction of strontium aluminate powder, which could fully charge in about 20 minutes and provide light for more than 10 hours. These advancements have made photoluminescent pigments more efficient and effective in various applications.

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Key Terms and Definitions in Photoluminescence

To understand how photoluminescent pigments perform, it's helpful to know a few key terms related to light and brightness:

  • Lumens: This measures the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source in all directions. A 60-watt incandescent bulb, for example, emits between 500 and 700 lumens.
  • Candle Illumination / Foot-Candles: This measures the brightness of light one foot away from the source. A typical living room might need 10-20 foot-candles of brightness.
  • Candela: This refers to the amount of light emitted by a lighting device in a specific direction. A common candle emits about one candela of light.
  • Millicandela (mcd): This measures the amount of light striking a single surface from a given angle. It's a common measurement for high-brightness LEDs.

Lumens are typically measured using an integrating sphere, which calculates the total light output in all directions. Millicandela, however, is highly dependent on the angle at which the light is emitted, which is why high-brightness LEDs designed for illumination are typically measured in lumens, while indication LEDs are measured in millicandela.

Top Lighting Options for Photoluminescent Materials

The type of light used to charge photoluminescent pigments affects their performance. Fluorescent, LED, and halogen lights are more effective than incandescent bulbs because they produce more light and less heat. Sunlight can also be used, but it may cause signs and labels to fade over time.

Proximity to the light source also plays a role in how effectively photoluminescent materials charge. The closer the material is to the light source, the more light it absorbs, resulting in a brighter glow. As few as 5 foot-candles of light (equivalent to a 15-watt bulb) can be used to charge photoluminescent labels and signs.

Photoluminescent Safety Standards

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that photoluminescent exit enclosures be continuously illuminated for at least 60 minutes before a building is occupied. This ensures that the markings have time to fully charge and provide adequate illumination during emergencies.

Under typical stairwell lighting, photoluminescent signs and labels can take 30 to 60 minutes to fully recharge and then emit a steady glow for about eight hours. This provides a reliable source of illumination during power outages or emergencies, enhancing safety and compliance with building codes.

Photoluminescent pigments offer a versatile and energy-efficient solution for glow-in-the-dark applications. Their ability to gather energy from light and re-emit it without the need for electricity makes them a valuable resource in safety and other industries. Understanding how they work and the factors that affect their performance can help you make informed decisions about using them in your projects.

Photoluminescent egress path marking systems are an important life safety requirement in current building codes. These systems allow for the safe and quick evacuation of buildings in the case of an emergency. They provide a routing system that is not dependent on electrical power that can easily be followed in dark and smoke-filled exit pathways. Nystrom offers a full line of photoluminescent products. For more information, please visit our website or contact our Sales & Customer Support team.

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The Cost of Non-Compliance in Fall Protection

Financial and Legal Risks of Fall Protection Violations

When it comes to workplace safety, fall protection is one of the most critical areas, particularly in industries like construction, manufacturing, and maintenance. Despite its importance, many businesses still overlook or downplay the risks associated with non-compliance with fall protection regulations. The consequences of these violations can be severe, ranging from financial burdens to legal repercussions. We will explore the various costs associated with non-compliance in fall protection and why adhering to safety regulations is crucial.

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Understanding the Differences Between Fire Safety Cabinets

In industrial and commercial environments, ensuring safety is paramount. Fire safety cabinets play a crucial role in protecting flammable and hazardous materials from fire risks. However, not all fire safety cabinets are created equal, and choosing the right one for your needs can be daunting. This guide will help you understand the key differences between fire safety cabinets to make an informed decision.

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Bridging Accessibility and Sustainability: Entrance Flooring Best Practices

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, remains a pivotal piece of legislation ensuring equal access and rights for people with disabilities. This comprehensive civil rights law prohibits discrimination across various sectors, including employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. A critical aspect of ADA compliance for architects and builders lies in creating accessible spaces, particularly when considering entrance flooring.

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Trends and Technologies Shaping the Stair Treads and Nosings Industry

Stay ahead with expert insights and innovative solutions.

In the realm of commercial architecture and design, the significance of stair treads and nosings cannot be overstated. Beyond their functional role in providing safety and traction, these elements contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal and user experience of a space. As the industry continues to evolve, innovations in materials, designs, and technologies are reshaping the landscape of commercial stair treads and nosings. Let's explore the latest trends and advancements that are driving innovation in this crucial sector.

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Factors To Consider When Specifying Access Doors

Access doors are crucial components in various architectural and construction projects, providing convenient and secure entry points to enclosed spaces such as utility closets, crawl spaces, attics, and mechanical rooms. Their role extends beyond mere functionality, often contributing to the overall safety, security, and efficiency of a building or structure.

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3 Functions of an Entrance Flooring System

Entrance systems stand as the architectural ambassadors of any building, commanding attention as the first point of interaction with visitors. Beyond mere functional features, they are pivotal in establishing the tone and ambiance that defines the overall experience within. To orchestrate a truly captivating and enduring entryway, it is paramount to consider a holistic blend of design, functionality, and practicality.

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The Silent Hero: Commercial Entrance Flooring

Unveiling the Multifaceted Benefits of Commercial Entrance Flooring

A commercial entrance is more than just a physical threshold, it's the gateway to your business. Every step taken across that entrance holds the potential to shape perceptions, enhance safety, and impact the indoor environment. In this blog, we'll explore how a well-designed commercial entrance flooring system goes beyond aesthetics to profoundly influence safety, create lasting first impressions, improve indoor air quality, and even trim building maintenance costs. Let's dive into the multifaceted impact of this often-overlooked element.

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