Iridescence, also referred to as goniochromism, is the phenomenon in which the color of a substance or surface of the film gradually changes color as the angle of illumination or angle of view changes. Examples of iridescence include soap bubbles, butterfly wings, sea shells, as well as certain minerals. It occurs when microstructures interfere with light structural coloration. Iridescent pigments are employed in a variety of the applications such as paints &coatings, automotive, cosmetics, textile, personal care, inks, and playing surface of compact discs. Iridescent pigments find wide application due to their luster.
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In terms of chemical composition, iridescent pigments can be segmented into three groups: iridescent mediums all interference colors, iridescent pearl, and silver. These colors are derived from mica platelets that are coated with a thin layer of titanium dioxide. Refraction and reflection takes place on this layer of titanium dioxide to produce various colors and iridescent effects. Iridescent gold, copper, and copper light make up the second group. These colors are derived from mica platelets, but an iron oxide coating is present either in place of, or in combination with, a titanium dioxide coating. The iron oxide coating results in pigments, which possess hues as well as pearlescent qualities.
A third group consists of colors derived from highly reflective metallic pigments. This includes stainless steel (coarse & fine), as well as, micaceous iron oxide. The pigments in the first two groups are non-metallic and composed of very thin, highly reflective and transparent platelet-shaped. Pigments can be easily oriented into parallel layers within the transparent medium due to the plate-like shape. When viewed, a portion of the incident light will be reflected by the uppermost layer of pigments, while the remainder of the light will be transmitted and subsequently reflected by lower layers. It is this multiple reflection of light from many microscopic layers that produces the observed shimmering luster or iridescence effect.
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Increased consumption of paints and coatings is the main driver of the iridescent pigments market. The paints & coating industry is an emerging industry, which includes the decoration and the protection of infrastructure. Regions such as India, China, and GCC are major consumers of paints, hence, the market of pigments is likely to expand in these regions. Plastics industry is one of the major consumer and therefore a driver of iridescent pigments. Pigments are employed as coloring substances in plastics. Besides acting as colorant, pigments provide stability. Additionally, the textile and cosmetic industries are also propelling the iridescent pigment market. Change in lifestyle, pattern, color of textiles and cosmetics are giving a platform to the iridescent pigment industry.
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