Follow us as part of the AEC market for product announcements, expert information and industry updates for wall, ceiling, floor, roof and stair access products that create safer, more accessible commercial buildings.

Bookmark & Share

Posts about:

stairways

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.

View Luminous Egress Products

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.

Read More

Benefits of Luminous Egress Markings

Illuminating Safety

In the realm of safety and emergency preparedness, luminous egress markings have emerged as a groundbreaking solution, revolutionizing the way we navigate buildings during low-light or emergency situations. These luminous markings, designed to glow in the dark, serve a crucial role in enhancing evacuation procedures and ensuring the safety of occupants. Let's delve into the myriad benefits that make luminous egress markings an indispensable feature in modern building design.

Read More

Embracing Eco-Friendly Solutions in Commercial Stair Design

Ascending Sustainability

In the era of environmental consciousness, businesses are increasingly seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt sustainable practices. One often overlooked area is commercial stair design, where eco-friendly choices can make a substantial impact on both the environment and the overall sustainability of a building. This blog post explores how commercial stairs can be transformed into eco-friendly elements, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

Read More

Don't Let Title 24 Trip You Up

Beyond Accessibility: Unpacking California's Title 24 and Visually Contrasting Nosings

In the intricate world of stair treads and nosings, one often hears a lot about Title 24 and its association with brightly colored nosings embedded into concrete stairs. This design choice serves a crucial purpose, making it easier for the visually impaired to identify the leading edge of a stair tread. However, there is a common misunderstanding that California Title 24 pertains solely to the accessibility aspect of the California Building Code. In reality, Title 24 encompasses a much broader spectrum, composed of 12 distinct "Parts," including the Administrative Code, Building Code, Mechanical Code, and Fire Code, among others. In essence, Title 24 represents the comprehensive California Building Standards Code, reaching far beyond accessibility considerations.

Read More

In the Details: The Size and Construction of Stair Nosings

The Critical Role of Stair Tread Nosings

Stairs, a fundamental element of architectural design, serve a practical purpose in connecting different levels of a building. While their functionality is evident, the safety and longevity of stairs often lie in the details, such as the size and construction of stair tread nosings. In this blog, we'll delve into the crucial considerations surrounding these elements, shedding light on their significance in both commercial and residential settings.

Read More

How-To Repair Abrasive Grit Stair Treads & Nosings

A Step-by-Step Guide

Abrasive grit stair treads and nosings provide essential safety features, enhancing traction and reducing the risk of slips and falls on stairways. Over time, however, these surfaces may experience wear and tear, requiring repairs to maintain their effectiveness. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of repairing abrasive grit stair treads and nosings, ensuring they remain in optimal condition for continued safety.

Read More

4 Essential Building Design CE Courses

The importance of continuing education in architecture cannot be overstated, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognizes its significance in advancing and improving the profession. Architects require ongoing learning opportunities to maintain competency, prepare for the future, fulfill AIA membership requirements, and renew state licensure. Specifically, architecture professionals need at least 12 annual AIA Learning Units ǀ Health Safety Welfare units, which are typically obtained through continuing education.

Read More