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The Disappearing Ink
The Disappearing Ink
UV lamps were bleaching out the blue color so that a new ink looked like a clear coating. Why didn't this happen in the lab?
Mysteries of Science
Dr. Gilleo
Mysteries of Science by Dr. Ken Gilleo
Dr. Gilleo is a chemist, inventor and general problem solver. Ken has been tracking industrial forensics and collecting case histories for decades. These cases are taken from the vast world of industry and commercial enterprise.

Check out Dr. Gilleo's eBook, 100 Mysteries Solved by Science. We hope you enjoy these case histories. You need not be an engineer or scientist to understand the problems and appreciate the solutions.
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The 3M Company was developing a new ink hardening system. Normally, inks dry by solvent evaporation or they are hardened with heat.

The new approach would use ultraviolet radiation. A small batch of blue ink was made up and run through the small UV processor in the lab. The resulting ink came out hard and had good adhesion to the aluminum test panels.

Other tests confirmed that the ink properties were satisfactory. The batch was scaled up in a production run when they realized the UV was bleaching out the blue color so that the ink looked like a clear coating. 

But why didn't this happen in the lab? 

Here's the rest of the story.

It seems that the extra lamps and the additional ozone was enough to chemically modify the blue dye molecule to one that had no light absorption. Take note, scale-up can have surprises.

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