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Proceedings Paper

Measurement issues in the color specification of fluorescent-retroreflective materials for high-visibility traffic signing and personal safety applications
Author(s): David M. Burns; Timothy J. Donahue
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Paper Abstract

The use of fluorescent-retroreflective materials in transportation safety applications (traffic signing and personal safety garments) has increased significantly over the last decade. The improved photostability of modern fluorescent colorant systems finally allows transportation agencies to make full use of the safety benefits of high visibility fluorescent signing and garments. As the use of fluorescent colored materials has grown, so has the need for accurate colorimetry to reliably and reproducibly describe the properties of these materials. Specifications for materials used in visual signaling are written in terms of absolute chromaticity and luminance factor limits. Therefore, accurate color measurement based on technically sound procedures is necessary to describe these materials. The bispectral or two-monochromator method is the referee procedure for determining the general (illuminant-independent) colorimetric properties of fluorescent materials. Until recently the ability to do bispectral fluorescent colorimetry was limited to a few high level photometric laboratories, almost solely National Standards Laboratories. Commercial bispectral fluorescent colorimeters are now available. The purpose of this paper is to examine the state-of-the-art in the colorimetry of fluorescent-retroreflective high visibility materials. Inter-comparisons were made between bispectral instruments and commercials 1-monochromator instruments. Measurements made on a series of fluorescent-retroreflective and non-retroreflective (diffusely reflecting) fluorescent materials were made on both types of instrument. Ordinary colored retroreflective and diffuse reflective materials were also measured. Representative results of the measurement inter-comparisons are presented and the effects of instrument geometry and illumination are discussed. The results are presented in terms of uncertainty in the determination of luminance factors and chromaticity coordinates. Accuracy is assessed relative to colored fluorescent reference materials calibrated by National Standards Laboratories.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 August 2003
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4826, Fourth Oxford Conference on Spectroscopy, (8 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.519762
Show Author Affiliations
David M. Burns, 3M Co. (United States)
Timothy J. Donahue, 3M Co. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4826:
Fourth Oxford Conference on Spectroscopy
Art Springsteen; Michael Pointer, Editor(s)

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