Some color shades offer better protection against sun’s ultraviolet rays

October 14, 2009
When choosing clothing to protect against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, people should consider blue or red colors rather than yellow. A new study shows that these darker colors, when applied to cotton fabrics, tend to have better UV absorption. Credit: Public-Domain-Photos.com, Jon Sullivan

Economy-minded consumers who want protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays -- but rather not pay premium prices for sun-protective clothing -- should think blue and red, rather than yellow. Scientists in Spain are reporting that the same cotton fabric dyed deep blue or red provide greater UV protection than shades of yellow. Their study, which could lead to fabrics with better sun protection, is scheduled for the Nov. 4 issue of ACS' Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Ascensión Riva and colleagues explain that the color of a fabric is one of the most important factors in determining how well clothing protects against UV radiation. Gaps, however, exist in scientific knowledge about exactly how color interacts with other factors to influence a fabric's ability to block ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).

The scientists describe use of computer models that relate the level of UV protection achieved with three dyes to their effects in changing the UPF of fabrics and other factors. In doing so, they dyed cotton fabrics in a wide range of red, blue, and yellow shades and measured the ability of each colored sample to absorb UV light. Fabrics with darker or more intense colors tended to have better UV absorption. Deep blue shades offered the highest absorption, while yellow shades offered the least. Clothing manufacturers could use information from this study to better design sun-protective , the scientists indicate.

More information: "Modeling the Effects of Color on the UV Protection Provided by Cotton Woven Fabrics Dyed with Azo Dyestuffs", Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Proper UV protection for your eyes is important for summer

Related Stories

Proper UV protection for your eyes is important for summer

June 20, 2006

We all know the importance of using sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun's harmful rays, but what about protection for our eyes? July is UV Safety Month and prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays without protection ...

Killer Kevlar -- clothing that shields from germs

July 21, 2008

Protective clothing worn by firemen and other emergency workers may soon get a germ-fighting upgrade. Researchers in South Dakota report progress toward the first Kevlar fabrics that can kill a wide range of infectious agents, ...

Does 'sun-protective' clothing work?

April 20, 2009

Dear EarthTalk: Is there really such a thing as "sun-protective clothing"? If so, does it mean I can dispense with oily sunscreens once and for all? (John Sugarman, San Diego, Calif.)

Recommended for you

Findings illuminate animal evolution in protein function

July 27, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond researchers recently teamed up to explore the inner workings of cells and shed light on the 400–600 million years of evolution between humans and early animals ...

New polymer able to store energy at higher temperatures

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at the Pennsylvania State University has created a new polymer that is able to store energy at higher temperatures than conventional polymers without breaking down. In their paper published ...

How to look for a few good catalysts

July 30, 2015

Two key physical phenomena take place at the surfaces of materials: catalysis and wetting. A catalyst enhances the rate of chemical reactions; wetting refers to how liquids spread across a surface.

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.