What is a fluorescent pigment and why are there so many different types?

Fluorescent pigments are solid state solutions of fluorescent dyes. Without the polymer, the dyes won't fluoresce in many applications. Brilliant's technology revolves around creating polymers that allow the dyes to remain bright and fluorescent and still function in various applications such as coatings, inks, plastics, etc. The different series are based on a range of different polymers we've created, using different manufacturing techniques, so that they are best suited to a given application.

How are each of the fluorescent grade pigments surface treated? Is there a difference in processing for each color?

Daylight fluorescent pigments are not surface treated. Their polymeric nature makes them easy to disperse, without requiring any shear or milling. In solvent systems, wetting agents aren't typically required. In water systems, Brilliant can help with suggestions on which dispersant to use, depending upon the pigment and final system.

Are there any grades of Brilliant products that include glass particles incorporated with the pigment for reflectivity?

No, but a number of Brilliant pigments can work very well in combination with glass spheres to create bright and reflective finishes due to their inherent transparency.

Which are the main colors of fluorescent pigments that can be blended to create other ones? (e.g., Yellow + Red —> Orange)

Due to the nature of fluorescent pigments, i.e., multiple dyes solubilized in a polymer, blending them can result in a loss of color cleanliness. Therefore, when blending them, it is important to blend with the adjacent shade so as to and minimize the potential for the resulting shade to go dirty. Soluble toners and melt-in plastic colorants have more latitude for blending since the dyes will end up solubilized in the same polymer.

Does Brilliant offer products with different particle sizes? What are the applications that require different particle sizes?

Yes. The particle sizes are determined by the product type, chemistry and manufacturing technique as well as the application for which they are intended. Smaller particle sizes can offer better color strength or ability to apply in a thinner film for certain types of printing, however, in solvent systems, they may lose some chemical resistance due to higher surface area.


What is the shelf stability of fluorescent pigments?

Fluorescent color pigments are stable indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place in closed packaging.

What is the lightfastness of fluorescent pigments (blue wool scale)? Is there any difference in lightfastness among Brilliant series? Do certain fluorescent colors have better light stability than others?

In general, fluorescent pigments typically have a blue wool scale rating of 1 or less. Lightfastness of the pigment itself is dependent upon a number of factors including dyes present and the polymer host. Certain grades have better lightfastness than others (BGP/BSR/BNF/BFE better than BMS, for example) and certain shades perform better than others, e.g., yellow performs better than pink. Techniques can be employed to improve lightfastness in application (see 'How to Improve Lightfastness' FAQ below).

Is it possible to improve the exterior durability of fluorescent pigments without losing the fluorescent effect?

In addition to the pigment type selected, lightfastness in application is impacted by pigment loading and film thickness. The thicker the film and higher the pigment loading, the better. The best way to protect fluorescents against UV degradation is to apply a clear overcoat containing UV absorber. Thus, if used in a coating application, multiple coats of fluorescent paint, followed by a clear coating with UV absorber will allow for the best possible performance.


What are the main differences between Brilliant's BNF series and BMS series pigments for plastics?

The BNF series is a melt-in, non-formaldehyde grade for polyolefin masterbatches. Because it melts into the carrier resin, it provides a more transparent effect. The BMS series is a non-melting polymer made with different chemistry and process. Since it does not melt, it provides a more opaque effect, giving the appearance of strength in masstone applications. While the BNF is more heat stable and lightfast than the BMS, the BMS virtually eliminates plateout. Because the BMS contains some residual formaldehyde, it needs to be used with good ventilation.

Why are non-formaldehyde melt-in colorants more heat stable than microsphere type colorants?

Non-formaldehyde formulation, like our BNF series, are more stable due to the type of polymer and the manufacturing process used.

What are the heat resistances of the BMS (microsphere) series and BNF (non-formaldehyde) series?

When using our standard heat stability tests of 200 deg C vs. 250 deg C and 300 deg C, the BNF holds up well through all. The BMS shows color shift at 250 deg C. Yellow shads are more stable than red/pink/magenta shades. Heat stability can also be improved with the addition of certain additives.

Does Brilliant make fluorescent pigments with a translucent effect?

For plastics applications, our BNF series will offer the most translucent effect, relative to BMS. For certain resins such as PC, PET, and Styrene, fluorescent dyes (not pigments) can be used directly. For printing ink applications, our BSTW and BSTS for water and solvent flexo, respectively, offer completely translucent ink films.

Does Brilliant make fluorescent pigments that support a high temperature process?

Existing fluorescent pigments are not well suited for higher processing temperatures associated with engineering resins such as ABS, SAN, Nylon, etc.

Are Brlliant's fluorescent pigments FDA or AP(89) 1 certified?

Our BNF and BMS series pigments for masterbatch are compliant with AP(89)1 regulations. We have not undergone the food contact notification process with the FDA.

What plasticizers are most popular in vinyl applications? Does Brilliant make these products in house, or toll manufacture elsewhere? Are phthalate plasticizers still being used in applications outside consumer products, like construction?

BVC is made at our corporate headquarters and manufacturing site in Richmond, California. We offer the BVC in both phthalate (DINP) and non-phthalate plasticizers and can prepare according to our customers' specifications.

Product Differences

What is the difference between the various liquid products Brilliant offers? (i.e. toners vs. dispersions vs. bases.)

In summary, Brilliant's offering is comprised of dry pigments, water-based dispersions of those pigments (BWD), water-based emulsions (BFE), ink bases (BIB2, etc.) and soluble toners for either water (BSTW) or solvent (BSTS). The BWD is a 50% loaded dispersion of our dry color pigment (typically BSR) and has a pourable (ketchup-like) viscosity. BFE is typically used in water-flexo and textile inks due to its fine particle size. At 50% loading, it has the viscosity of water. The ink bases (heavy, honey-like viscosity) are used in conventional offset and UV inks. The soluble toners are used where particle size needs to be incredibly small or where a transparent colored film is required, e.g. fine line flexo, UV ink jet, film & foil coating, etc. (Andy to change analogy away from ketchup)

What products are typically used in aerosol paints and what formulating guidelines does Brilliant offer?

In general, BSR Series is the most commonly used grade for solvent-based aerosol coatings since it offers a balance of solvent resistance, durability and cost. In some applications, other pigments such as BGP and BMS Series are also used. Our technical team is available to discuss your particular application.

Does Brilliant offer a water-based fluorescent pigment that has good adherence to glass?

For water-based glass coating, any number of our pigments, including BGP, BSR and BMS, could work as they will not hinder any glass coating formulations. The pigment selection will depend upon the coating formulation and final effect desired.

Can Brilliant provide an invisible blue in the non-formaldehyde (BNF) product series?

Brilliant is able to produce a non-formaldehyde BNF Series Invisible Blue; please inquire to discuss MOQ.


What QC instrument does Brilliant use for fluorescent pigment testing?

Brilliant employs a spectrophotometer and, while we use it regularly, we rely on our trained technical staff's visual inspection. This is due to the fact that fluorescent pigments emit greater than 100% reflectance and this can render the spectrophotometer's measurements less than reliable, especially in masstone applications.


Is it possible to reduce the formaldehyde content of the BSR and BMS Series?

Formaldehyde is used as a reactant in certain products, in excess, in order to get optimized reactivity of the polymer. Due to manufacturing techniques, we are not able to lower it in BSR. We have done so in BMS in an effort to optimize low formaldehyde without compromising shade and strength.

What is the advantage of high formaldehyde content polymer?

Formaldehyde is used as a reactant in certain products, in excess, in order to get optimized reactivity of the polymer. Reducing formaldehyde levels in the pigment increases processing costs, thus for those applications where cost is paramount, products with higher residual formaldehyde levels are commonly chosen.

Is it possible to improve the migration resistance of BSR and BMS Series?

Due to the nature of the BSR chemistry and manufacturing technique, we do not foresee improvement opportunities in migration. For BMS, there is the possibility to make a lower migration product by lowering its strength, to be more in line with the competition. Please inquire about your application and demand.

Frequently Asked Questions