What Is Gloss And How Do You Measure It?

What do a shiny clean car and a fresh manicure have in common? They both have an irresistible shine that catches the eye! What do we have to thank for this lustrous glow? Gloss. Gloss is the attribute of surfaces that causes them to have a shiny or metallic appearance. Just as color speaks to the mind, gloss does too. Whether it is the magazines we read or the cars we drive, no one can deny the appeal of a glossy surface. Gloss is a significant aspect of the visual perception of objects and is widely measured across numerous industries. Gloss can be influenced by several factors including the smoothness of polish, the amount and type of coating applied and the quality of the substrate. Everything from furniture to food relies on gloss to make it shine.

The key to gloss is consistency. No matter the product, the gloss must measure equally across every batch. Imagine purchasing a brand new car only to find that your “new car” shine is subpar to that of the identical vehicle. Gloss also affects the quality of a coated surface and, therefore, needs to be carefully controlled to produce superior, equivalent products. Gloss is measured by shining a specific amount of light at a surface and quantifying the reflectance at specific angles of viewing, normal to the surface being observed.

There are several methods employed to ensure that uniformity of a surface’s glossy appearance can be achieved across productions. The primary one is to measure specular gloss, which is the ratio of light reflected at a specific angle on both sides of a surface. Then there are certain products which require that the ratio of specularly reflected light be diffusely reflected normally to the surface, which is also manipulated by the angle of light shined. Observing the gloss at grazing angles of incidence and viewing, then quantifying the results is known as measuring contrast gloss. Furthermore, the absence-of-bloom, or the lack of haze adjacent to the specularly reflected light, is measured in order to adjust the desired surface appearance effect. Then the sharpness of specularly reflected light is often measured to determine the distinctness-of-image for a particular product. Lastly, the overall visual assessment is conducted to determine the perception of surface smoothness and uniformity.

The quality of a product’s glossy appearance is an essential part of the psychological impact a product has on a consumer. By using these forms of surface appearance measurement across industries, consistency is achieved, and equal products are produced. Here at Konica Minolta Sensing Americas we offer a full range of gloss meters to ensure accurate and consistent measurement of gloss.

For a more in-depth explanation of gloss and gloss measurement Download our whitepaper Understanding Gloss with the Rhopoint IQ-S


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