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Architectural Paint Research

Cross-section examination (with Ultra-violet Fluorescence)

The examination of paint samples mounted in cross-section at high magnification under incident (normal) light and ultra-violet illumination can be very informative. Every paint layer is evidence of a decision to alter an interior – and an indication of the taste, aspirations and wealth of the occupants.

Post WWII alkyd-resin and vinyl-emulsion paints can readily be distinguished from lead-based paints under ultra-violet illumination. Layers of applied varnishes appear as distinctive white layers when viewed under ultra-violet light. This paint sample taken from a 19th century lamp-post reveals the two early varnish layers and the more recent post WWII schemes.