Interesting New Materials Received from Aardenburg Members

Aardenburg Members have recently contributed some very cool new samples for light fade testing. New test results (evaluated at the 10 megalux-hour exposure mark) will appear in the Aardenburg Light Fade Test Results List on approximately May 15, 2009.

Some of the new test sample highlights are:

1) Canon PIXMA Pro9000 print samples on both microporous and swellable polymer media. The Pro9000 uses 8 dye-based inks including red (actually orange) and green inks. The Chromalife 100 dyes are said to have improved light fastness and gas fade resistance.

2). Epson Stylus Pro 3800 prints made on some very fine papers – Hahnemuhle William Turner 310 gsm, Hahnemuhle Torchon 285 gsm, and Innova Soft Textured Art 315 gsm.

3). A print on Ilford Galerie Pearl photo paper made with an Epson Stylus Photo R1800 printer using Inkjetfly R800/R1800 Pigment Inks (with V3 Black). This ink set is the latest set from Inkjetfly.com and incorporates IJF’s new and improved V3 photo black ink.

4) An Epson Stylus Pro 4880 print sample made on Breathing Color Optica One 300gsm Smooth Fine Art Paper. The Epson 4880 printer incorporates the use of a newer more vivid magenta ink. This inkset is therefore called Epson “UltraChrome K3™ with Vivid Magenta” (sometimes abbreviated by posters on various internet forums as “K3VM”). Optica One is a bright white fine art paper that enables inkjet inks to achieve high image sharpness and excellent color gamut. It will be interesting to see how well its optical brighteners perform with respect to light fastness.

5) Two new “firsts” for the Aardenburg light fade testing – our first canvas sample, Breathing Color Chromata White ™ Canvas and our first overcoated sample of the same canvas, the coated sample now side-by-side the uncoated sample in test. Chromata White canvas achieves its initial surface whiteness level without the use of optical brighteners. The coated sample has an application of Clearstar’s Clearshield® type C Satin overcoat (a water-based acrylic polymer). A new column will soon be added to the AaI&A light fade test results list. The new “Coating/Laminate” column will identify samples that use additional post printing treatments of applied varnish or laminate materials.

6) Two more samples of the new “drylab” technology from Fujifilm. One sample is the matte version of Fujifilm’s OEM inkjet paper designed specifically for use in its Frontier DL400 minilab system. Fujifilm’s designated matte finish is very pleasing and to my eye closer to a “fine pearl” surface than a conventional matte finish. The other glossy sample is a replicate of one already in test but printed on the same Fuji 400DL unit about a month later than the first test sample.

Aardenburg staff tends to prepare new samples for light fade testing in batches of about twenty new items. Considerable time is taken to carefully compile the sample information for the Aardenburg test reports. Samples are also allowed to “dry” for significantly more time, especially dye-based samples, because residual solvents can affect the light fading rates. In the real world, light levels are usually low enough that many years pass before much fading occurs, and consequently the residual solvents have plenty of time to diffuse deeper into the media as well as to evaporate. Glycols, a typical part of the inkjet ink chemistry, are high boiling point solvents. They will remain in the inkjet prints in sufficient concentrations for decades, but they will also diffuse further into the media. Thus, as further diffusion and evaporation occurs, the interactive effects of the solvents on the colorant stability tend to change, and the first few months of print life is a particularly active time for this solvent migration process. The time between printing and testing is therefore an important variable. It is usually beneficial to wait, but of course, we can’t wait for years or it defeats the purpose of accelerated testing. However, waiting a few weeks prior to initiating the test cycle often provides a more realistic test outcome than waiting only a few days.

I mention these arcane testing facts so that Aardenburg members who submit samples will have a better understanding of our testing process and why their newly submitted samples do not usually appear quickly in the Aardenburg testing database. The actual reports are currently added to the database once the 10 Megalux hour exposure interval has been reached, typically about two months after the start of the test. And as noted above, getting the samples ready for test takes considerable time as well. Although I am considering posting some testing information at the zero megalux hour status, ie., “new” in test, to let everyone know as early as possible what new samples have been started, it requires some changes to the report structure I haven’t quite worked out yet. I will keep working on it.

Mark H. McCormick-Goodhart
Director, Aardenburg Imaging & Archives