Gluminous™ glow-in-the-dark pigment powders come in eight exciting colors! They are hand packaged here in the USA.

Selecting the right pigment for your application

There are many aspects that go into selecting the right glow powder for your application. Although we only stock a select configuration here at Gluminous HQ, in selecting the best all-around glow powder, we’ve learned a lot about the different styles and grades out there. Passing this information along, we hope that you can make an informed decision on your glow powder needs for your project.

Chemical Composition

One of most popular and powerful glow powder chemicals out there are strontium aluminate. When it’s doped (coated) with another chemical, often europium, it becomes a photoluminescent phosphor. In layman’s terms, a glow-in-the-dark powder! 

Strontium aluminate is a pale yellow or white under light and glows green or blue when dark. All of our greens and blues use this chemical compound to achieve the glow affect.

The other colors are made out of different materials to achieve the desired glow affects (see the individual colors for their chemical compositions). Colors such as red and yellow use sulfides to achieve their desired pigments, so they can often emit a “rotten egg” smell when first opened (which fades after integration into a medium).

Are they radioactive?

You’ll see a lot of sellers putting “non-radioactive” in their product description. Heck, we do it too. Apparently, not so long ago, glow-in-the-dark materials were often made with radioactive elements. These materials glowed all the time through ionizing radiation. Modern glow in the dark compounds use an entirely different principle. They have molecules that can be excited to an energized state by visible and UV light and then, due to the laws of quantum mechanics, get stuck in such state for a long time. As they come down from this energized state to the ground (lowest energy) state, they emit the excess energy as visible light. There is no ionizing radiation involved, so if you don’t ingest or inhale such substances they are safe for handling in the longest term. 

Glow Power

How long a glow powder “glows” is measured in millicandelas (mcd), or thousandths of a candela at various points in time. For example, indicator LEDs are typically in the 50 mcd range; “ultra-bright” LEDs can reach 15,000 mcd(15 cd), or higher. All of our glow powders indicate their luminosity a fully charged “mcd/m2” rating, as well as the rating after 1 hour. The table below shows an example comparing three of our colors

Green Sky Blue Red
mcd/m2 @ 1min 9328 980 1700
mcd/m2 @ 2min 73 24 25
visible glow lasts 10 hours 10 hours 1 hour

As you can see, our green powder has the most intense initial glow (almost 10x brighter), as well as the as a brighter glow after one hour (3x brighter). It’s very common for greens to have the most powerful glow due to the more unmodified nature of their chemical makeup to achieve that color. You can look for these ratings when comparing different colors and sizes.

Crystal Size

Besides color/chemical composition of a glow powder, the size of the crystals in the final powder also has an affect on the intensity of the glow powder. The size is typically measured in micons (μm). Larger crystals usually have a brighter glow, but their texture can have a sand-like feel. This makes them only usable in applications like stair treads or other coverings. For integration into paints and other mediums, 30-50 microns is typical. Small diameter crystals are useful for inks and dyes.

Gluminous glow-in-the-dark pigments are all within 25-55 microns in size.

Encapsulated (waterproof)

Our green and aqua glow powders are encapsulated, which means they coated to withstand exposure to water. Both colors can be integrated into water-based mediums without impacting the glowing ability of the pigments.

Without this coating, water-based mediums will deactivate the glowing power of the pigment. Do not mix other glow-in-the-dark colors in water based mediums. Epoxies, inks, and most paints can be used without issue though. Check the description of your intended medium for more information.