While bundling up in many cold and snowy parts of the country right now, we are frequently asked if cold temperatures have any impact on glow in the dark materials. Are warm temperatures better for glow performance, do colder temperatures delay reaction time? Actually temperatures do have an effect on many materials and glow in the dark materials are no exception!
According to the scientifically accepted Arrhenius Equation, many chemical reactions occur more quickly at prolonged higher temperatures. For example, milk will sour quickly if stored at room temperature. However when stored in a cold refrigerator the reaction is delayed, allowing the milk to remain fresh and drinkable much longer. Cold-blooded animals like reptiles, amphibians and fish become more lethargic on cold days.
Even we want to curl up by a fire with a good book on a cold winter’s day!
Glow in the Dark Materials and Temperature
So what does that mean for glow materials? In general, the principle is the same. The lower the temperature, the less apparent the brightness and the longer the persistence of the glow. So in the very coldest temperatures glow materials emit less slight light, but will shine for a longer time.
Exposure to much higher temperatures will discharge the stored energy quicker thereby lessening the total glow output time. Put simply, higher temps create a brighter glow for a slightly shorter time. Cooler temps produce a glow that is not quite as bright but lasts somewhat longer.
Try This at Home
There is a simple experiment you can try to test your glow materials at different temperatures. Place hot water (~150 degrees F) in a cup and dip one end of your glow material (such as Lunabrite rope trim) into the water. LunaGel Glow Sheets or Ribbon can also be used for this experiment although the warm temperature may temporarily wrinkle them. Warm water will enhance the glow despite any short term wrinkling effect.
To judge the difference, take the hot water warmed up glow materials out and compare to a piece of material that was charged by lamp or window light.
Next, place the glow materials into cup of 36 degree F cold ice water. As the vibrating molecules slow down, you will visually notice the glow decreases. Compared to Lunabrite ribbon, Lunabrite rope’s clear protective sheath slows the change.
It takes a few minutes for the inner Lunabrite core temp to change, starting at one end and moving upward. Again, you can use a second piece of Lunabrite at room temperature side by side to judge the effect of ice cold water on glow output.
Recently our highest quality glow material was tested in Iceland against an alternate brand bought on Amazon. The glow material tested was our highest-grade glow vinyl material. Our glow was still visible even from a distance while the competitive product failed this test. Lower grade materials contain weaker glow crystals and have smaller load levels. Thus, not all glow materials perform the same. We take great pride in offering the highest grade materials to minimize temperature variations.
We have informally tested glow materials in cold weather temps right outside our back door here in chilly NJ. Even with temperatures in the teens, our highest grade Lunabrite materials will glow, although not quite as bright as room temperature conditions.
See for Yourself
Glow brightness is based on several additional factors, not just temperature. These include the darkness of the immediate environment. Because human eyes have the ability to adjust to darkness, timing and surrounding lights can also affect glow appearance. If you are moving from a brightly lit room, take a few minutes to let your eyes adjust to the dark room or night sky before evaluating glow materials. Whether you need to quickly spot a glowing item at night on a cold ski slope, or you are on a hot summer camping trip, Lunabrite has been used with success in all climates!
Let us know your results with glow materials and temperature!