New colorimeter enhances accelerated weathering testing and data

Smithers’ Rapra’s Materials Characterization lab (chemistry and physical testing) has invested in a colorimeter to monitor color and appearance changes during exposure to accelerated laboratory weathering and aging to better predict color changes brought on by actual exposure of materials in service conditions.

The colorimeter provides an objective measurement of color and color change based on the LAB color space, which mathematically describes color. The LAB color space contains all colors perceivable to the human eye and measures color based on a three-dimensional scale: lightness, a green-to-red spectrum, and a blue-to-yellow spectrum. The colorimeter supplies a verbal description of color change along with a technical measurement, making it easier to understand and use the data.

Colorimeters are extremely useful when measuring for any color or appearance change in colored rubber or plastic products that are subject to outdoor weathering, such as awnings, signage, recreational equipment, and white tire sidewalls. The product sample, is assessed with the colorimeter before and after artificial weathering testing to assess color change brought on by the elements. The tool can also be used to check for bleeding or staining of chemicals migrating from adjoining substrates.

“This investment really enhances our testing capabilities and the data we can give to our clients,” said Christine Domer, General Manager of Akron Labs. “We can supply an objective measurement as well as a subjective judgment and photographs of any color and appearance changes brought on by artificial weathering testing.”

Smithers Rapra already offers a wide range of artificial weathering testing, including exposure to xenon arc light, UV light, salt fog, heat, fluids, ozone,  pure oxygen, and temperature and humidity cycling, along with a full suite of pre- and post-tests. All of these tests are explored in detail in this recent Smithers Rapra webinar. To learn more or schedule your testing, get in touch with Jeremy Elliott at 330-762-7441 or

CIELAB color space front view image by Holder Evering