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Thread: Tritium "microsphere" lume paint?

  1. #1
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    Default Tritium "microsphere" lume paint?

    Does anyone know whether this is real and, if so, has anyone heard of any watch manufacturers using a similar technology yet? This sounds like a huge step forward for lume.

    This company has apparently found a way to make teeny tiny tritium vials, like sand-grain-sized, which they will incorporate into paint. It will have a half-life of 12.5 years just like the vials we're used to but it will be paint. They claim the glass "microspheres" will prevent any radiation from escaping at all. Here's the patent language and URL:

    "This invention relates to a means for more efficiently and more safely providing self-luminous lighting devices for use in signs, markers, indicators and the like. The present invention provides self luminosity by means of a plurality of glass or polymer microspheres containing both a light-emitting phosphor and a radioactive gas. The “soft” emission of electrons from the beta emitting gas cannot penetrate the glass or polymer wall of the microspheres, thereby constituting no radiation hazard. A further advantage of the present invention is that the plurality of individual containment microspheres minimizes the escape of radioactive gas in the event of any physical damage to an assembly of such microspheres. A still further advantage of the invention is that the radioactive gas completely surrounds the phosphor particles, thus causing light emission from one hundred percent of the surface of the particles." http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2007/0200074.html

    Here's another website where the company's owner pitches the product:
    http://www.createthefuturecontest.co...ml?entryID=567

    And here's the company's own website with their other glowing products (non tritium based, though):
    http://www.glopaint.com/ResearchDevelopment.htm

  2. #2

    Default Interesting, and likely "for real"

    ...as far as use in wristwatches though I'm not sure how much more useful it would be over the existing capsules. Seems like it might be better for signs etc.

  3. #3
    Member Dennis Smith's Avatar
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    First I've heard of the little balls.
    I like the idea of the spray cans, though.
    Instead of just charging up your watch for the night, you can charge up your kid, or wife. The possibilities are endless. I might need to get my car repainted :-)

    Cheers,

    You are
    What you do
    When it counts


    Dennis Smith

    2010 AirNautic Early Bird (#1/50 & #50/50)
    2012 Glycine "1953" Airman
    Rolex GMT II
    Damasko DA44

  4. #4
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    Default Usefulness vs. capsules

    I think some advantages of this stuff would be:

    1. Cheaper to apply to watch faces, since all watch manufacturers already use painting technology. Tritium for all!

    2. Watches could be made thinner because the height of the tubes wouldn't need to be accommodated.

    3. The mechanical parts-handling and assembly necessary with vials should disappear, again reducing cost.

    4. Finer outlines and patterns should be possible, like skeleton hand edges, numerals of any style, etc. Right now, the shape/size of the capsules limits the design.

    5. For funkiness, maybe lume will be applied inside a display back, so you can admire your timepiece's insides even in pitch darkness.

  5. #5
    Order of the Royal Turkey Guarded by Canines Recumbent with Oak Leaf Cluster bjp's Avatar
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    Default I welcome the idea....

    as I HATE handsets that use tritium tubes, but I love the notion of a watch dial/handset that will glow without "charging".

    I can not see why others don't find the currently available tritium-tubed handsets as atrocious as I do.............

    Of course, it could just be that maybe I'm a little off-center.

    cheers,

    ben

  6. #6
    Member Jim C.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjp View Post
    Of course, it could just be that maybe I'm a little off-center.
    That would be my guess.

    "I'm tired of having to decide between stupid, evil and doesn't stand a chance."

  7. #7

    Default The BIG question is

    Will Jack be able to make it look a nice shade of yak piss yellow
    There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

  8. #8
    Senior Member lysander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    I think some advantages of this stuff would be:

    1. Cheaper to apply to watch faces, since all watch manufacturers already use painting technology. Tritium for all!

    2. Watches could be made thinner because the height of the tubes wouldn't need to be accommodated.

    3. The mechanical parts-handling and assembly necessary with vials should disappear, again reducing cost.

    4. Finer outlines and patterns should be possible, like skeleton hand edges, numerals of any style, etc. Right now, the shape/size of the capsules limits the design.

    5. For funkiness, maybe lume will be applied inside a display back, so you can admire your timepiece's insides even in pitch darkness.
    Most of these advantages assume the size of the "spheres" is on the order of of the size of a particle of paint pigment. If the "spheres" are on the order of 0.1 to 0.25 mm in diameter, there would be much of an advantage in watch dials.

  9. #9

    Default I'm just not seeing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    I think some advantages of this stuff would be:

    1. Cheaper to apply to watch faces, since all watch manufacturers already use painting technology. Tritium for all!
    Cheaper than a dot of adhesive? Pennies at most and a mere fraction of the end retail price. I would also question an assumption that tritium is automatically better than luminova for most people. I actually prefer luminova because there's no half-life and I find the lume to be more than adequate for my needs, but to each his own.

    2. Watches could be made thinner because the height of the tubes wouldn't need to be accommodated.
    The overwhelming trend in watches has been for ever bigger, wider, thicker cases though, for reasons of fashion and styling more than necessity. Seems moot as makers can already make watches far smaller and thinner with existing technologies.

    3. The mechanical parts-handling and assembly necessary with vials should disappear, again reducing cost.
    Ok, but then we introduce cost of new painting equipment and processes if the paint cannot use standard machines. In any case, the costs associated with applying lume are a pretty minimal component of the end retail price.

    4. Finer outlines and patterns should be possible, like skeleton hand edges, numerals of any style, etc. Right now, the shape/size of the capsules limits the design.
    Perhaps, but again that's making assumptions about the size of the "beads". They can also do this already with luminova but don't.

    5. For funkiness, maybe lume will be applied inside a display back, so you can admire your timepiece's insides even in pitch darkness.
    Wouldn't think that much of an advantage for most people. I'd also be worried about deteriorating paint getting in the movement over time and tend to think display backs are out of place on military and "tool" watches anyway, but that's just my opinion.

  10. #10
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    Default Depends on your values and assumptions, I suppose

    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    1. Cheaper to apply to watch faces, since all watch manufacturers already use painting technology. Tritium for all!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rrryan View Post
    Cheaper than a dot of adhesive? Pennies at most and a mere fraction of the end retail price. I would also question an assumption that tritium is automatically better than luminova for most people. I actually prefer luminova because there's no half-life and I find the lume to be more than adequate for my needs, but to each his own.
    My point is that it would cost the same as a dot of adhesive or lume, since paint / adhesive is already what's in use, but would give the advantages of tritium. Yes, I'm assuming it would work with existing painting machinery, maybe with a new nozzle or something, given that the manufacturer says it can be "added to paint".

    For my purposes, the tritium tubes on my Marathon Field Watch are clearly superior to the "normal" lume on my other watches, precisely because the glow doesn't fade. I work in low-light conditions most of the time, and mostly wearing long sleeves, so the lume in most watches doesn't get much charging. I can still see the lume but tritium is visibly better. Also, when transitioning through low- and very-low-light conditions, such as during night driving, I find the consistent glow of the tritium likelier to be visible than my other watches.

    I'd love to see a design that combines the brightness of conventional lumes and the persistence of tritium. Maybe hands / markers filled with Luminova and edged with tritium?

    I agree that tritium isn't an advantage for most people but it is a significant advantage to some.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    2. Watches could be made thinner because the height of the tubes wouldn't need to be accommodated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rrryan View Post
    The overwhelming trend in watches has been for ever bigger, wider, thicker cases though, for reasons of fashion and styling more than necessity. Seems moot as makers can already make watches far smaller and thinner with existing technologies.
    Large size has been a fashion trend in watches in the past few years but there's no way to know how long that will persist. They certainly don't need to be as big as they are now, not even the ones (like G-Shocks) designed for hard use. I personally prefer smaller and thinner, so maybe some of that preference is showing itself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    3. The mechanical parts-handling and assembly necessary with vials should disappear, again reducing cost.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rrryan View Post
    Ok, but then we introduce cost of new painting equipment and processes if the paint cannot use standard machines. In any case, the costs associated with applying lume are a pretty minimal component of the end retail price.
    Again, I'm assuming it can be added to paint. The cost savings is in comparison to the necessarily more-complex manufacturing process required for tritium tubes.

    It's probably true that the cost impact isn't huge but I only see a few manufacturers using tritium tubes so far and their products are mostly overpriced in my opinion (e.g. Luminox). If tritium could be used like ordinary paint, I would hope that more manufacturers would get into the game.


    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    4. Finer outlines and patterns should be possible, like skeleton hand edges, numerals of any style, etc. Right now, the shape/size of the capsules limits the design.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rrryan View Post
    Perhaps, but again that's making assumptions about the size of the "beads". They can also do this already with luminova but don't.
    Again, "added to paint". The closest thing to tritium numerals I see these days is the stick figure designs on some Ball watches.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monosodium View Post
    5. For funkiness, maybe lume will be applied inside a display back, so you can admire your timepiece's insides even in pitch darkness.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rrryan View Post
    Wouldn't think that much of an advantage for most people. I'd also be worried about deteriorating paint getting in the movement over time and tend to think display backs are out of place on military and "tool" watches anyway, but that's just my opinion.
    This was meant in a half-joking way. Display backs themselves aren't much of an advantage to most people, nor are mechanical movements.

    I regularly have people ask me why I have a mechanical watch when quartz is "so much better". Then they spend five minutes hypnotized by all the gears and wheels behind the display back.

    Paint (or maybe it's just anodizing of some kind) already appears to be in use by some manufacturers wanting a fancier interior.

    I try not to get too picky about toolworthiness. I think the precipitous decline in wristwatch sales in recent years is evidence that most people are deciding the best tool for timekeeping is something other than a wristwatch. And honestly, the best "tool" watches these days are probably the Casio G-Shocks and Suuntos that I'm told are the current fashion among police and soldiers. I could probably also make a case for analog Timex Expeditions or the Casio "Duro" line for their readability-at-a-glance. In this day and age I think even most members of this forum will admit that the practical advantages (in terms of timekeeping functionality) of quartz or radio-controlled accuracy and polymer case materials would seem to vastly outweigh the advantages, if there still are any, held by mechanical movements.

    Hope this helps to clarify.

  11. #11
    Member Nalu's Avatar
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    Saw this last year and AFAIK no manufacturer has started using this H3 'paint' as yet. Maybe some practical problems?
    Cheers,

    Colin

    Capo-at-Large, Brooklyn Dive Watch Mafia

  12. #12
    Member George W. Olney's Avatar
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    Personally, I've always preferred the SLN simply because nothing gets deader than tritium lume over the long haul. I have a few watches over the ten year mark, and the two using tritium are in really sad shape for reading in the dark. Sooner or later I intend to have Jack replace the tritium with SLN

    The only advantage I can see to this new product is that you won't have to change out the hands and dial of a tritium tube watch over a decade old, if the manufacturer is still around, that is.

    George
    Resident Experienced Curmudgeon

  13. #13

    Default I have talked with the manufacturer

    a couple of times actually as they are about 10 minutes from where my family has a country place. From what I am told the first "samples" are going out next month... I am going to try and get some and simply mix it with some lume binder I have and see what happens.

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