Reflected Color Appearance
We make acrylic baths and like most of the UK, they are in white.
Our end users sometimes say the bath is not the white they ordered but this is
because the acrylic seems to absorb the reflected light from surrounding materials
and does appear to change colour. We know this is not the case but the consumers insist
the bath is taken out.......no surprise in daylight the bath is OK. Is there a name
for this phenomena?
I do not know if there is a name for it, but this is the same affliction that causes
drivers to notice their head lamps dimming when the car is at idle only after having
had the main battery replaced. The old fixture was “off colour” in the same way, but
they never really looked at it before.
The main problem is the gloss finish on the bath. A less shiny surface (we call it
semi-gloss or matte over here) would absorb some of the incident light from the surrounding
furniture and the effect would be less noticeable but the gloss acts as a mirror but not a
perfect one. I cannot offer any advice except to explain things beforehand, to make sure
the householder is there for the installment and to not fix things permanently until they
Sorry I can be of no more help that that.
R. W. "Bob" Avakian
Oklahoma State Univ. Inst. of Technology
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: June 2012