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UV Light—Slicing and Dicing the Light That Can’t Be Seen

ultravioletlight2Several years ago, scientists hypothesized that a narrow spectrum of ultraviolet light called far-UVC could kill microbes without damaging healthy tissue. Far-UVC light at about 222 nanometers (nm) has a very limited range and cannot penetrate through the outer dead-cell layer of human skin or the tear layer in the eye, so it’s not a human health hazard. But because viruses and bacteria are much smaller than human cells, far-UVC light can reach their DNA and kill them. In the study, aerosolized H1N1 virus—a common strain of flu virus—was released into a test chamber and exposed to very low doses of 222nm far-UVC light. A control group of aerosolized virus was not exposed to the UVC light. The far-UVC light efficiently inactivated the flu viruses with about the same efficiency as conventional germicidal UV light.[1] Continue reading


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The Color Project: Part Six

Part6Thanks for sticking with us—this is the sixth and final post about the NCCA Color Project experiment we conducted at METALCON. In the previous five posts, we presented our analyses of the 28 observers’ ratings to see how discerning and consistent they were. We concluded that human observers see color differences differently; some see a lot of difference, some just a little. This was not unexpected. Finally, it’s time to look at the observed color differences plotted against the machine readings for color difference.

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The Color Project: Part Five

 

Part5Let’s quickly review the previous two posts on NCCA’s “The Color Project”:

  • In Part Three, we showed that about 20% of our observers fell into an “extremes” category (i.e., they were either notably far less critical or far more critical); but the majority—80%—of the observers were more or less in agreement.
  • In Part Four, we concluded that most of the people, most of the time, were not fooled by the identical-pair panels. Only 9% of the time were there notable color differences declared, and half of the observers saw no difference at all. If you expect to see a color difference, by golly, you will!

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The Color Project: Part Four

Part 4In Part Three of “The Color Project” blog post series, we began to discuss the vast amount of data collected from the NCCA color experiment at METALCON. We also looked at how each individual observer compared to the other observers. We found that about 20% fell into an “extreme” category (i.e., they were notably far less critical or far more critical), but the majority—80%—of the observers were more or less in agreement.

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The Color Project: Part Three

Part 3Parts One and Two of this series of posts on NCCA’s “The Color Project” discussed why we needed to run a visual assessment experiment and how we structured the study. You may recall that we created 54 panel pairs, and within this set there were 15 repeats (i.e., pairs that were shown to the observers—unbeknownst to them—a second time to see how closely they would rate the pairs), as well as 8 pairs of identical panels (i.e., take a panel, cut it in half, tape the halves together, and call it a color difference pair). I also mentioned the tedium of collecting data for 13 solid hours. And lastly, I teased you with promise of revealing data here in Part Three. So, without further ado, let’s dive in. But first, let’s discuss the visual observations. We’ll talk color data later. Continue reading


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The Color Project: Part One

Part 1The National Coil Coating Association Technology Committee has been investigating color measurement, color difference, and how best to establish meaningful color tolerances. “Color” is a small word, but one with lots of tentacles. You see a blue car, you call it a blue car. The person you’re walking down the street with also describes this same car as blue. So you both call it “blue.” What’s the big deal? Seeing a “blue” car as it travels down the street is one thing. Putting two metal panels next to each other and comparing their colors closely and carefully is quite another thing. It’s all a matter of perspective. Continue reading


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Can Self-Healing Coatings Ever Become a Reality?

Dry field and small green plantIt seems so simple: We cut a finger or bruise a knee, and a week or so later we’re all better. You snip a small branch of basil leaves to make pesto, and before you know it there is another branch of basil leaves sprouting from the cut. If plants and animals can heal and thrive, why not other organic material, like polymers used to make coatings?

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Whatever Happened to … UV-EB Cured Coatings for the Coil Coating Industry?

photo3Whatever happened to UV-EB (ultraviolet-electron beam) cured coatings technology? The simple answer is, “Still there. Doing just fine.” For the coil coating industry, the answer is even simpler: Never left the starting block, even though a great deal of effort went into the development of UV-EB coating technology suitable for the coil-coated building products industry. I’ll get to those developments in a bit, but first, a little history.

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NCCA Color Experiment at NCCA’s Fall Meeting and METALCON 2017

NCCA has been investigating an alternative method for color measurement for the coil coating industry. As part of this investigation, NCCA is coordinating a visual assessment experiment. In a nutshell, we are attempting to assess the human response to slight color differences between pairs of panels and to correlate that response to a color instrument’s reading. Of course, people see color and color differences differently, and color instruments have a host of setup options from which to choose, so this is hardly a straightforward experiment. But if it were simple, it would have been done decades ago. Continue reading


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When “Just Right” Means “Uh-Oh”

nccaA while back, I wrote about the “just right” conditions necessary for the formation of fog. That particular post discussed the scattering of light, which is done by materials such as titanium dioxide (the principal pigment in white paint) and clouds (where water droplets do the scattering). The birds are chirping at sunrise and the vernal equinox has already passed, which means the sun is finally in the Northern Hemisphere and the days are getting longer and warmer—and all of this points to the beginning of another building season. That got me to thinking about a few other “just right” conditions that seem pertinent for this time of year. And, once again, water comes into play. Continue reading