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Uses of Blacklights
(Long Wavelength Ultraviolet Lights)

Black lights produce Long wave Ultra Violet, or UV (320 nm - 400 nm). Many materials fluoresce under ultraviolet lighting producing colors or light that our eyes can see, and making things that might go undetected visible to us.

Blacklight fluorescent inspection processes make jobs easier for document inspectors, quality control engineers, forensic scientists, fire officers and auction houses to name but a few. With UV blacklight, hairline cracks can be detected in aircraft undercarriages, automotive steering systems and many other life-critical components. Portable Blacklight (6", 4 watt, high wavelength UV light)

 In the field of forensics UV blacklight helps unearth vital evidence at crime scenes and plays an important role in identifying the cause of fires. Inspection of works of art under UV blacklight can reveal imperfections and evidences of restoration and repairs to art, pottery, glass and detecting old from reproduction -- an important aspect of authentication for valuation and sale.

Most commonly available blacklights emit Ultra Violet light at a wavelength just above the visible range. Typically, this is around 340 nm while the visible range is roughly 400 nm to 700 nm. Blacklights produce fluorescence which is kind of magical. You point one light at certain targets and totally different colors appear.

One characteristic of fluorescence is the intense, highly saturated colors that it produces making the object appear to have pure colors.

Black light uses:

Note: Most blacklights that you purchase, such as our blacklight flashlight are long wave, or UV-A, blacklights producing UV just above the visible range, or at about 340nm. Shortwave blacklights can damage eyes and skin. See UV Definitions for more.


Antique inspection
Black light testing is a common practice used to authenticate antiques, to determine authenticity and the extent of repairs.

Blacklights are used in evaluating antiques because the ultraviolet rays they produce react differently to different materials. Because of this interesting characteristic, things that are invisible to the naked eye become visible under the blacklight.

Different chemical properties become apparent under a blacklight, modern paint will fluoresce or glow under a black light, older paints will not, you can use this to determine whether a painted object is an antique or a newer reproduction as well as to determine whether a piece has been "touched up" and if so, how extensive was the repair. The same technique can be used to detect repairs on antique porcelain as the old finish will not glow under a blacklight, and the newer material in the repair will.

Some antique glassware will glow under the blacklight as well, Vaseline glass will glow because it contains uranium oxide.

A blacklight can be used to test many types of antiques. Here are some examples:

Cut Glass: Authentic American Brilliant period cut glass fluoresces yellow; reproductions have no reaction or show a blue-white. You should pre-test to gain experience and remember the blacklight is just another tool to use in determination of authenticity. Cast Iron: Most new paint on most new cast iron fluoresces; old paint on old cast iron rarely fluoresces. You can also detect newly painted repairs as well.


Art inspection

Entire books are written about UV blacklights for art inspections. This is just a brief synopsis.

In works of art, modern paint will fluoresce or glow under a black light, older paints will not. Thus, pictures that have been "touched up" with modern paint will glow.
Repairs or hairline cracks may show and become more apparent under blacklight.

Paper Products: Most paper products--like post cards, books, signs, photos papers, etc.--made before the late 1930s-WW2 era rarely fluorescent. Paper products made since 1950, however generally fluoresce brightly due to large amounts of chemical bleaches and dyes.

Pattern Glass: Nearly all American colorless pressed glass made before ca. 1925-30 fluoresce yellow; reproductions generally do not have any fluorescence.


Detecting some bacteria

Some bacteria fluoresce under UV blacklight. Fluorescent bacteria include some strains of Salmonella and Shigella.

Bacteria may also be genetically modified to become fluorescent. This may be achieved by introduction of a gene that produces green fluorescent proteins. Fluorescence will make it possible to monitor growth and trace the distribution of bacteria in different environments.   


Club hand stamp screening

Hand stamps in UV light are a good way to check if people are approved for night club or party entry. Visible stamps are easily duplicated or transferred, but UV stamps are much harder to work around.


Fabric and Textiles
Textiles: Thread and Cloth: Synthetic fibers--rayon, polyester, etc. made since WW2 all fluoresce. This allows you to detect new military uniforms, new quilts, new doll clothes, etc. Even if old fabric is used to repair an old quilt, the new thread will fluoresce. A quilt from 1800 is less likely to fluoresce, while a quilt made in the last decade probably will. Mass produced laundry detergents from the current and past decades have contained additives that make your laundry whiter and brighter. These additives can make textiles fluoresce under a black light, which would lead a person to believe an antique quilt/textile, washed in these detergents, was newly made. And while many newly made fabrics and threads do fluoresce, there are also fabrics and threads whose manufacture do not cause it to fluoresce.

Man-made fibers available in the Depression era can be found in all sorts of vintage quilts from that era. They are very collectible, and the use of fiber content to label them new is poor information for the novice collector.

A collector must learn their textile field and be knowledgeable. While blacklight helps in loose fiber detection, it is not the best way to confirm a textile's age.


Fluorescent dye leaks;
Automotive air conditioners, coolant, oil and other liquid systems can be tested by addition of a small amount of fluorescent dye. The leaking spots will later fluoresce under UV light or blacklight.

Forgery Detection

From money to artwork, fakes and forgeries often look different under blacklight.

Bank notes also incorporate fluorescent dyes, which glow under exposure to UV illumination. To enable fluorescence, dye is infused with luminescent solids that give off a specific colored glow under UV light. Many business owners keep a blacklight behind the counter to check bills for the standard markings which are designed to glow under UV. Artworks that are touched up to look matched in color to the naked eye will often show stark differences in fluorescence due to changes in paint. UV can allow you to see many of these otherwise hidden details. Inspect US Dollor under blacklight

The color and location of the security thread in US dollar bills are unique to the the value of the bill. Click here to see the location of security thread in different bills. 


Glass and glass repair inspection;

Art Glass: Lalique before 1945 fluoresces yellow; after 1945, it does not. Genuine old Burmese fluoresces bright yellow green, new reproductions do not.

Porcelain: Hard paste porcelain will fluoresce a deep blue or purple color. Soft paste will fluoresce white.


ID and document Verification;
Alterations and lack of intentional features that were put in only the approved documents can show up well under UV lighting.


Mineral lighting and identification

Some minerals display what is called the phenomenon of photoluminescence. This just means that they "glow" when exposed to UV light (black light or blacklight). Some of the minerals that produce distinct color lights under UV radiation include Opal, Fluorite,  Calcit, Dolomit, Willemit, Apatit and Quartz.
Minerals under UV light

You may use either the UV light fixture or portable UV light for minerals.


Party fun for posters

Blacklights are great for looking at cool posters and fluorescent objects!
UV light fixtures are installed on the ceiling. In this way the room is dark and light radiant posters seem to be the only source of visible light.

Fluorescent Posters under UV light
UV lamp fixture with UVA/ blacklight tube The UV18F1 high wavelength UV lamps have a fixture that may be mounted in two different orientations. They are painted black so they will blend with the rest of dark areas. So the only light source will seem to be the fluorescent posters or objects. (Check the price)

Pet and pest stains

Have pet odors problem in your home, they're probably hidden in places you can't see. Use the UV light to check in corners, under beds and behind furniture to help you locate the hidden sources of odor regular cleaning might miss.

Urine marks under blacklight
Portable blacklight (UV light) is the perfect choice for detecting urine, feces and other biological contaminants. In a dark room you may detect many contaminations using the portable black light. (Check the price and availability) Portable UV lamp

Psoriasis

Blacklights are used to help effects of Psoriasis, and UV light is used in many medical treatments. UV is at the upper end of full spectrum visible light which appears to help in treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D is produced when your skin is bathed in UV light, and exposure to UV helps the body absorb calcium and research projects in the world of medicine. Recent medical developments include fluorescent dyes used in conjunction with blacklight to identify cancerous cells in the internal organs of patients.


Reading invisible fluorescent inks

Great fun! More reliable than writing in lemon juice and heating the paper, fluorescent pens allow writing invisibly and then reading the message later. Or even better, write the message with a UV Pen to see it glow as you go!


Scorpion illumination

Scorpions easily camouflage with their natural environment and they are hard to see. Blacklight flashlights are used by some people to find scorpions, particularly outdoors at night.

Scorpion fluoresce under blacklight
Some scorpion species show up as a bright green in UV light and can be found more easily with the blacklight. Particularly used in warm dry US states. It is interesting to note that a deep red light, which is on the other side of the visible range from ultraviolet, is used when catching nightcrawlers at night since they are sensitive to other colors.

More about Ultraviolet (UV Definition)

Ultra Violet (UV) light is light at a higher frequency than visible light. The range for UV extends from the blue end of the visible (400nm) to the x-ray region (100nm). There are three distinct wavelength regions described as either UV-A, UV-B or UV-C in increasing order of photon energy.
UV-A 400nm-315nm: Often referred to as 'blacklight', this is the longest and safest wavelength region and lowest energy, it represents the largest portion of natural UV light.
UV-B 315nm-280nm: Partially blocked by the ozone layer this is the most aggressive component of natural UV light and largely responsible for sunburn (erythema).
UV-C 280nm-100nm: Only generally encountered from artificial light sources since it is totally absorbed by the earth's atmosphere.

Chemicals that fluoresce when radiated with "black" light include: chlorophyll, quinine, eosin (a dye used in medical examinations), "day-glow" paints, blood, urine, semen, Vitamin A and the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, many inks including those used on postage stamps, common components of paints, fabric and plastics such as stabilizers and antioxidants, and most hydrocarbon-based fluids used in metal finishing operations.


What these lights will not do: Longwave UV blacklights will generally not give severe sunburns or erase EPROMS. They may help detect but will not kill germs and bacteria.

Blacklights are Great for use in Hotels, Motels, Nursing Homes, for Enforcement, Day Care Centers, Schools & Universities, Hospitals, Rehab Centers, Medical Offices, Restaurants, Food Processing Plants, Pharmaceutical & Electronics Manufacturing, Clean Rooms Operations
...and around your home: At Home Sanitation, Sanitary Inspection, Bacterial Detection, Pet Stains, & Lice Detection.
 

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List of metals for science experiments

Multimeters

Miniature Light Bulb
Miniature Light Bulbs
Miniature Lamp holder
Miniature Lamp Holders

Test Leads

Plastic Battery Holders

Buzzer, 3-V DC

Crystal Earphone
Simple Switch, Knife Switch
Simple Switch

 

Transformer
Transformers
Banana Jack
Banana Jacks
banana Plug
Banana Plugs
Binding Post
Binding Posts
Dynamo, Bicycle Generator
Dynamo, Generator
Electric Bell
Bells and Buzzers
Magnet Wire
Magnet Wire
Transformer Coil, Educational
Transformer Kit

Knife Switch with plastic screw connectors
Wire
Wires

UV Lamp/Fixture

Thermoelectric Cooler
Battery Holder, Metal, D Size
Metal Battery Holders

Thermoelectric Generator

Portable UV light (Blacklight)

 

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