the results are in...
Get the real facts about digital art coatings and how Optima testing proves that our Liquid Laminates™ provide the best protection for all applications.
Below are studies of our conservation experiment results and a discussion of how Optima Liquid Laminates™ work. In the right hand section, we discuss Color Fading and Coating Exposures.
Read all of this to understand the quality and performance that make Optima International the World Leader Since 1993.
Conservation Experiment Results
Optima is conducting exposure fence experiments in Southern Florida utilizing a solar tracking device. According to this test protocol, objects are exposed -- unfiltered -- to direct sunlight for five years. Optima has thus far logged 3180 days on Optima Liquid Laminates™ coated, ink jet prints with no discernible change. Optima has the longest running experiments in the industry.
Accelerated experiments are being conducted in a state-of- the-art laboratory equipped with a Xenon Arc Test Chamber. Xenon Arc is the most technologically advanced artificial light source available for testing of this kind. The manufacturers of the Xenon Chamber published the following correlation: 1200 hours of Xenon Arc Chamber testing is equivalent to two years of natural sunlight. The experiments are 4500 watts of Xenon Arc. (4500 watts is equal to 60,000 LUX).
How™ Optima Liquid Laminates™ work
OPTIMA UV/LS/S contains Ultraviolet Light Absorbers (UVLA) that absorb UV radiation, dissipating it as harmless levels of heat within the coating. These molecules are specially designed with a Hydrogen-Oxygen bond that is broken when it is hit by UV radiation. Rather than becoming an unstable free radical, the "energized" UVLA molecule remains stable. The molecule then reverts back to its original state whereby the Hydrogen and Oxygen ions re-bond and throw off the extra energy as heat. This heat is of such a negligible level that it is immediately dissipated within the ™Liquid Laminates™. Therefore it will not lose it's protective ability through time.
Ultraviolet Light Absorbers are very effective at reducing the level of free radicals formed. However, they can not absorb all incident UV light. As stated above, once any free radicals are formed, they start a "cascading" process whereby new free radicals are formed at an increasing rate.
To solve this problem, Optima Liquid Laminates™ contain STABILIZED Hindered Amine Light Stabilizers (LS/S). These molecules are designed to scavenge free radicals, regenerating them to their initial stable form. Much like UVLA, these molecules are also regenerating. After oxidizing in reaction to contact with free radicals, these molecules revert back to their original state.
Thus, none of Optima Liquid Laminates'™ additives
will ever "wear-out". Optima International has exposed its samples to a
state-of-the-art Xenon Arc (4500 watts=60,000 LUX, .01 LUX=1
fading, instability and coating exposures...
Color Fading and Instability... What Causes it?
Photodegradation starts when a substance absorbs UV light, elevating
the molecular bonds to a higher energy level. Some of molecules are able
to emit this energy in the form of heat and return to their "ground state"
of energy. Other molecules suffer bond cleavage, becoming highly unstable
"free radicals". These free radicals bond with oxygen, pollutants and
other molecules in the material. At this point the original molecule is
changed and no longer reflects the original color. To exacerbate this, the
newly formed free radicals react with neighboring molecules, forming more
free radicals at an ever increasing rate. Once this damaging and
irreversible process starts, it will "cascade" on its own. UV light starts
this very damaging process of free radical formation.
Flexibility... Why is it important?
Another benefit of™ Optima Liquid Laminates™ is that they increases flexibility. Special additives make ™Optima Liquid Laminates™highly flexible. For reasons to be explained below, this is crucial for all artwork.
™Optima Liquid Laminates™ increase the flexibility of the ink and substrate. Canvas and photos treated with Optima Liquid Laminates™ become far more flexible.
Experienced photographers will marvel at the degree they can bend a
treated photo without it cracking. This is an important facet of long-term
conservation, even for artwork that has no need for flexibility. To see
why, please read further.
Coatings, if not treated, become brittle after prolonged exposure to UV light. Experiments with other clearcoats have shown a decrease in flexibility after fairly minimal exposure. ™Optima Liquid Laminates™ actually show an increase in flexibility when exposed under similar conditions.
Cracks caused by loss of flex in coatings accelerate the degradation process! A coating must be able to flex with the substrate, even if it is simply in response to the expansion and contraction associated with temperature changes. If the coating looses its ability to flex, microscopic cracks begin to form. At this point, the print will quickly degrade as these cracks expose the ink and media to oxygen, moisture and pollution. In humid climates these cracks allow the creeping growth of fungus that is commonly seen in aging prints.
™Optima Liquid Laminates™ dry in only 15 minutes and cure in four hours. If you use hard plastic laminates, coat the print first with Optima to obtain true UV protection and long-term fade resistance.
Optima Liquid Laminates™ contain a special fungicide not found in other coatings that will protect your print from fungal growth.
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