Light it Up! Light and Charging Methods for Glow Materials

What type of lighting works best to recharge high performance glow materials?

Our technical team is frequently asked what are the most effective light sources, and would different light enhance glow results.

Light-Sources-1-300x300With infinite variations in both applications and glow materials, each situation can have different charging requirements. A good general rule of thumb is that a full charge can be achieved fairly easily using commonly available light sources, once you understand the basics of recharging.

The three most important things to consider when charging glow materials are: recharging strength or light intensity (LUX), the amount of time the glow materials are exposed to a specific light source, and most importantly, the type of light source itself.

Light intensity or LUX is a comparable measurement of the strength of individual light sources. The higher the LUX number, the stronger the light output and therefore, the more effective it will be at charging glow material. To put this another way, a lower LUX rating would require an increase in charging time and if the LUX number is too low the light source would likely not succeed.

Proper exposure time to the light source will also make a difference in your results. The strongest light sources can recharge in less than five minutes. Dim light sources will take longer. The quickest results can be obtained from natural daylight or from black lights.

Distance from the light source should also be considered. Attempting to recharge materials using a weak light that is too far away will not be effective.

Choosing the right light source.

There are many types of light sources that can effectively charge glow materials. Here is a brief review of light choices:

Natural Light

Sunlight offers the quickest and most effective recharging method because sunlight includes a larger and stronger UV wavelength spectrum. This gives glow materials their quickest, most effective charge.

Even partial sunlight (such as the more diffused light of a cloudy day) or before the sun goes down at Dusk still provides enough light to adequately charge most photoluminescent materials.

Black lights
Black-Light-Photo-300x199A black light is another highly effective method for charging glow materials.  Black light lamps are the only known source that can both charge and simultaneously enhance viewing of the glow. This is because it uniquely emits long wave UV illumination with very little visible bright light interference. Black lights highlight glow colors and have been successfully used to enhance the glow during product performance.

Room Lighting

Room lighting has many variables such as the brightness of the lights, placement in the room and relationship to the location of the glow materials.

Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs can effectively charge glow materials if used in reasonable close proximity. However these usually take more time than other methods.

LED Lights

Common types of white or blue LED lights are generally the least effective at charging photoluminescent materials.

Newer UV enhanced LED lighting is being developed and may produce acceptable results. It is always best to test any new lighting before relying on it as a primary charging source.

Other Types of Light

How about a campfire, flashlights, or even candles?

Campfires and candles emit very little, if any, UV light. Although it may be possible to get a small charge, it would take prolonged exposure and close proximity to the flame, so is not recommended!

Tests have shown that a dim flashlight placed on or very close to glow materials can result in some degree of recharging, however faint. However we do not recommend this as a reliable or quick source.

Finally what about everyone’s favorite light, moonlight?

The glow of moonlight can be mystical and is often perceived to be very bright.

Technically it is not considered effective at charging glow materials, as it would not have enough LUX to do so. The moon is not a light itself, yet a reflector of the sun’s rays.  With a full moon we receive more of those rays.

Some romantics among us believe anything is possible and seem to experience luminescence even in moonlgow!