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measurements. For comparable measurements, Color Scales. The color of the measured object
each of the following measurement parameters is normally reported in one of several recognized
Evaluation of Weathering Effects:
must be consistent. color scales: CIE L a b, Hunter L a b, or CIE XYZ.
Geometry (Reflectance or Sphere). Color
measurements are made by shining a light on the
The CIE and Hunter Lab scales are widely used
and based on similar calculations. The XYZ scale
Visual Inspections
specimen and analyzing the spectrum of reflected is not much used anymore.
light to generate the L a b numbers. The light
sensor is, depending on instrument type, either a
Certain specialized color indexes are also used
to determine specific changes. Yellowness Index
and Instrumental
reflectance unit or a sphere. Reflectance units are (YI) and Whiteness index (WI) are used to evaluate
usually described by the angle of incidence/
reflection at the point of measurement, for
color on near white opaque materials, such as Ti02
pigments. These scales were originally visual, but
Measurements Outdoor Under Glass Testing Rack
example: 45/0 or 0/45. have been converted into instrumental, calculated
Observer Angle. This is a straight choice values to compare with the old visual data.
between older and newer technology. Older color For a discussion of instrumental color It is important to properly quantify the results of VISUAL EVALUATIONS
instruments used only a 2 degree observer. Newer measurement, consult ASTM D2244. Excellent any exposure testing program. Typically, the client
Possible Defect Applicable Methods
devices use the 10 degree observer. Many newer publications are available on the theory and is interested in the amount of change that his
instruments allow a choice to enable comparison practice of color measurement from all of the major material experiences during the exposure. Change
Chalk (velvet) ASTM D4214 ASTM D659
with older devices. color-measurement equipment manufacturers. in some properties, like color or gloss, can be
measured instrumentally. Other changes, like Blistering ASTM D714
Illuminant. Any one of several different light CONCLUSION cracking, peeling, chalking, blistering, or rusting, Cracking ASTM D661
sources may be used to illuminate the specimen
Because useful service life is often based on can be evaluated visually and rated according to Checking ASTM D660
during measurement. Different sources may give
aesthetic or other visual considerations, it is standard rating scales from ASTM or other
different results. Flaking/scaling ASTM D722 ASTM D610
frequently important to quantify any changes in the technical organizations.
Specular Component. The specular component appearance of a weathered test specimen. There Erosion ASTM D662
is the glossy reflection that the illuminant produces. are a number of techniques available. Visual FREQUENCY OF EVALUATIONS Mildew ASTM D3274
On sphere instruments the specular component evaluations, if performed by an expert, allow good Typically, the property of interest is measured Dirt Retention ASTM D3274
may be either included or excluded from the qualitative and quantitative ratings. When or rated prior to exposure. Thereafter, periodic Color Change ASTM D2616
reflected light. The specular component cannot be applicable, instrumental measurements are inspection and evaluation is necessary to quantify
excluded when using reflectance devices especially useful because of their objectivity. Both (Grey Scale) ASTM D1729
the progress of the test. Evaluations are commonly
(e.g., 0/45 geometry). visual and instrumental evaluations are a crucial Adhesion ASTM D3359
performed on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Calculations of Color Change. Color change is part of a comprehensive testing program. Periodic evaluations can and should be used to Corrosion (Filiform) ASTM D2803
calculated as the difference in the L a b values chart the degradation over time. All of this is a
before and after exposure. The term delta () is FOOTNOTES Corrosion ASTM D1654
crucial part of the comprehensive testing program.
used to denote the difference. Therefore = 1 These photos are used in preference to the same photos (Rust Creep from Scribe)
current measurementoriginal measurement. The published in the ASTM documents. This is because the VISUAL EVALUATIONS Corrosion ASTM D610 ASTM D1654
larger the number, the larger the color change. quality of the photographs is better in the FSCT book.
2 Exact measurement techniques and test protocols are
Although Visual Evaluations are subjective, (Surface Rust)
Thus L is the change in the Lightness Factor. a they are extremely vital, for it is often the individual
detailed in standard test methods and practices
and b are treated in the same manner: end users perception that will determine whether a
established and published by the American Society for Visual Evaluations of weathering effects are
+L means there has been a lightening of the color Testing and Materials (ASTM), the International materials appearance is satisfactory. Visual reported using the standard ASTM 10 to zero
- L means there has been a darkening of the color Standards Organization (ISO), and other technical Evaluations must be repeatable, and must be rating system. The scale is shown below:
organizations. All Q-Lab tests are performed to the
+ a means more red (or less green) consistent with other peoples perception. Because

appropriate recognized standard procedures. Many
- a means more green (or less red) purchasers require their own specific evaluation consistency is critical, Visual Evaluations must be ASTM RATING SYSTEM
+ b means more yellow (or less blue) protocols. Check with your customer for any specific done by a trained, experienced, specialist
- b means more blue (or less yellow) procedure required. inspector. Quality Rating Change
3 In both the gloss and the DOI measurement, the scale is
A total color change value of delta E (DE) is When a customer requests a Visual Evaluation Excellent 10 As Received (no change)
not an actual 0 to 100 points. In both procedures, a
calculated as composite of all three factors and is polished black tile is used for calibration. This tile has a of a test specimen, the inspector will check for all
9 Very Slight Change (trace)
widely used as pass-fail criteria for exposed calibration reference value slightly less than 100. The observable defects, including those listed below.
materials. calibration value is used as the high end of the scale. The inspector will rate the change according to the Very Good 8 Slight Change

applicable scale. Good 6 Moderate Change

Fair 4 Pronounced Change
Poor 2 Severe Change
Very Poor 0 Complete Failure

Q-Lab Weathering Research Service Notes: A rating of nine on the Quality Scale indicates the
first noticeable change.
Outdoor and Natural Exposures: 23435 SW 127 Ave., Miami FL 33032 Tel. 305/258-3287 Fax: 305/257-1233
The intermediate odd numbers may be used when
Laboratory Testing Services: 13131 SW 122 Ave., Miami FL 33186 Tel. 305/255-5300 Fax: 305/255-3366 the effect is obviously somewhere in between the
LL-9030 1995 Q-Panel Lab Products. Q-Lab is a trademark of Q-Panel Lab Products. All Rights Reserved. other ratings.
The pictorial standards depicted in the particles form a barrier layer over the test surface, GLOSS GEOMETRIES L a b COLOR SPACE
Federation of Societies for Coatings Technologies and prevent the instrument from measuring the Most instrumental color readings use some
(FSCT) book, Pictorial Standards of Coatings true surface. If the surface is dirty, the instrument 20 HIGHGLOSS PAINTS, PLASTICS
form of the L a b color calculation to define color. In
Defects, are used to directly compare the defects will measure the dirt, not the surface. 0 this system, three numbers are used to describe a
on the test specimen with a defined numerical color. Each of the three numbers refers to one of
value.1 This assists our inspectors in producing PLASTICS, METAL, ANODIZED ALUM
the three color coordinates:
repeatable evaluations and aids the client in
visualizing the reported defect. L a b COLOR SYSTEM
Visual ratings are performed under standard PAINT & PLASTICS
lighting conditions, using the naked eye. SPECIMEN

Microscopic evaluations up to 10x are used for

confirmation, or when necessary, as in the case of Various gloss measurement angles Yellow
are used for different applications.
At Q-Lab, each Visual Evaluation also includes Green
a +a Red
one gloss measurement at no charge, if applicable DISTINCTNESS OF IMAGE (DOI) b
for the product tested. Gloss and DOI are the first properties affected by weathering. MEASUREMENTS

INSTRUMENTAL MEASUREMENTS OF When we look at an automotive paint finish, we Blue

APPEARANCE PROPERTIES 2 see reflected images. The more clearly defined

those images are, the better we feel about the
Appearance is a critical attribute for many L=O
Measurements of gloss are an essential part of finish. Distinctness of Image is easily affected by (Black)
products and materials. The customers perception many evaluation programs. They are particularly surface deterioration such as ripples, orange peel,
of quality is often based on gloss, color, brightness, important for paints and plastics. Gloss is one of micro-scratches, hazing, etc. Color can be described by L a b coordinates.
smoothness or some other appearance the first properties that is affected during
characteristic. Useful service life is often DOI is a specialized, more precise form of gloss
weathering exposure. It is also one of the first Lightness Factor. The measured objects
determined by the same characteristics. A product measurement, using a 30 degree reflection angle.
aspects of appearance that appeals to the lightness or darkness is quantified by the L
that is otherwise perfectly serviceable will often be DOI uses a narrow, very highly focused, light
observer. number on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 = black, 50
discarded when its appearance fails to meet the beam. Regular gloss utilizes a much wider light
Instrumental gloss is the most widely used form beam. The DOI sensor measures the sharpness of = grey, and 100 = white.
customers aesthetic requirements.
of electro-optical surface appearance the edge of the light beam and uses a 100 point Red/Green Factor. The objects redness or
Since, by definition, appearance is a visual or measurement. Instrumental gloss measures the scale, where perfect distinctness of image is 100. greenness is quantified by the a number. When
aesthetic characteristic, it seems to be a overall shine of a surface. A gloss measurement
For a complete discussion of DOI the a value is a positive number, the measured
contradiction to use instruments to measure it. consists of shining a beam of light onto a surface at
measurement, consult ASTM E430. object is a red color. The higher the number, the
However, appearance is usually a property of the a fixed angle and then sensing the percentage of more red the object is.
surface (smoothness, reflectivity, color, etc.). Over that light that reflects at exactly the opposite angle
the years instruments have been refined to closely When a is a negative number, the measured
(instead of scattering). A perfectly smooth surface
agree with the human observation. object is a green color. The larger the negative
would reflect everything at the angle of incidence
number, the greener the color. A value of zero for
Objective measurements of appearance have and would therefore have a gloss value of 100. 3
a would be exactly intermediate between red and
several advantages over the subjective Any surface roughness or other imperfection green.
evaluations. Instrumental measurements provide a will cause a percentage of the light beam to scatter.
quantifiable measure of performance. They Blue/Yellow Factor. The objects yellowness or
This will reduce the amount of light that is
preclude the possibility of human bias because a blueness is quantified by the b number. When b
recaptured and therefore reduce the gloss value.
machine will produce the same numeric values is a positive number, the object is yellow. The
The gloss angle refers to the angle (relative to larger the number, the yellower the object.
every time - if all conditions are repeated.
the vertical) at which the light beam strikes the
Additionally, the numbers produced by these When the b value is a negative number, a blue
surface. The most common gloss angles are:
instruments form a continuous scale to which a colored object is indicated. The larger the number,
Instrumental measurement of color avoids human bias.
number of statistical operations can be applied. 20 Degrees: This angle is used when the more intense the color. A value of zero for b
There are three main electro-optical instruments measuring very glossy surfaces. would be intermediate between yellow or blue.
that are used in the weathering industry: Gloss, 60 Degrees: This angle is used for most COLOR MEASUREMENTS Any color can be described by its L a b
Distinctness of Image and Color. These are used intermediate gloss specimens. Instrumental color is the most complicated of all coordinates. For example, a mauve color could
to monitor the surface appearance properties of When the 60 degree gloss value is the electro-optical measurements. Color have an L value greater than 50, a positive a value
unexposed and exposed materials to gauge the over 70 it is recommended that the measurements are made by shining a light on the (red), and a negative b value (blue).
useful life of a product. gloss be measured at 20 specimen and collecting the light that is reflected
degrees. from the specimen. The wavelength spectrum of COLOR MEASUREMENT ISSUES
85 Degrees: This grazing angle reading is used the reflected light is used to calculate numbers that Unlike gloss and DOI, there are a number of
It is strongly recommended that all instrumental
for low gloss surfaces when the 60 are then used as a shorthand to describe the color fundamental variations in the measurement
measurements on weathered surfaces be made on
degree gloss value is less than 20. of the measured object. conditions that can be used when making color
a washed section of the specimen. All of these
measurements. In addition, there are a several
measurements are highly sensitive to surface For a complete discussion of gloss
different types of color measurement instruments
2 attachments such as dirt and mildew. These measurement, consult ASTM D523 or ISO 2813. 3
in common use. Each will give slightly different