Glowing in the dark or not?

Fluorescent and luminous paints can be a significant aid to site safety, enabling areas of concern or hazardous objects to be identified, but confusion does exist around the roles and functions of fluorescent and luminous paints.

Fluorescent or Luminous – What is the difference?

While both Fluorescent and Luminous paints appear to glow, only luminous paint emits light.

Luminous paint works by storing light energy and then releasing it to emit a photo phosphorescent glow when a light source is removed. During the day and in a well-lit environment, a luminous paint will seem dull and will not draw attention, which limits the application of this paint to brightly lit spaces. Its full effect is only visible when the environment is rapidly plunged into darkness, it will then emit its stored light for up to 20 minutes.

Fluorescent paint works by enhancing the light, making the colours brighter and extremely visible in both bright and low light. However when there is no light to amplify, such as in darkness, fluorescent paint cannot be seen. Unlike Luminous paint, Fluorescent paint cannot be used to glow in the dark.

Fluorescent Paint – Application and Uses

The key function of Fluorescent paint is high visibility in both bright and low light, making it extremely useful for safety applications. Fluorescence is used in high visibility clothing and can be utilized further to draw attention to exits, safety and first aid equipment. It can also be implemented to highlight low beams, bollards and protruding objects that may present an injury risk.

The key element of a fluorescent coating is the base; the white base coat is fundamental in capturing the light and providing the reflectivity necessary for the paint to function. The colour should not obliterate the white beneath as would be expected from a conventional coating.

Luminous Paint – Application and Uses

Luminous paints possess the ability to remain visible for a limited time in the event of a sudden loss of light, depending on the application this can be anywhere up to 1 hour, but is usually closer to 20 minutes.

They are particularly useful for safety and security applications – highlighting escape routes, doorways and fire exits in the event of a blackout. They are also often used to produce some interesting theatrical effects.

Both products have a large range of applications and are included in the Coo-Var Safety and Security range.

For more information: Coo-Var, Lockwood Street, Hull, HU2 0HN

Tel: 01482 320853