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Office Experiment #1
Office Experiment #1

"Highlighter colors in office light"


July 21, 2006

Proposal: I wish to see the effects on the colors of highlighters when exposed
to large amounts of white, tube lights (no sunlight).

Setup: I will draw a square the size of a 3x3 post-it note. I will divide that
square verically into 4 rectangles and colore each rectangle a different color of
highlighter- blue, yellow, orange and green. i covered one half of the square with a
3x3 post it, covering half of each rectangle. It will then be hung on my cubicle wall
directly under a series of tube lights. The post-it note at no time will be removed
before the end of the experiement.

Hypothesis: I propose that the constant exposure to light will cause the uncovered
portions of the rectangles to fade while the portion covered by the post-it will remain their
original color. The colors will fade as follows- yellow to white, orange to yellow, green to
yellow, blue to white.

Time frame for exposure: 2 months.

Preliminary results:

Fade 1

Fade 2

Results:

August 23, 2006

After 2 months of constant exposure to office tube lighting, I have found that all four colors have
faded. However, the resulting colors did not fade as I had anticipated. Yellow changed from a bright
yellow to a dull, urine-colored yellow. Orange faded to a lighter, orangish-yellow color. This was
the color that came changed closest to my original prediction. Blue and green faded VERY little.
The difference is hardly distinguishable and if not set side-by side as I had done, the effects would
be un-noticable.

To ensure that the half of the square covered by the post-it note did not fade at all, once the experiment
was completed, I colored a small line under the column of each color. The newly colored line matches the
previously covered colors exactly. Please see image below for clarification.

Conclusion:

When exposed to constant office tube lighting, the brightness of highighter markers decreases over time.
The severity of the decrease depends on the initial color of the marker. The lighter the color, the more it will
fade.

Follow-up observations:

Since I had limited the time of the experiment to a two-month period of exposure, and that I am too lazy to
take the paper off of my cubicle wall, I am going to leave it up and look at for one of the following things:
1) how long it takes the bottom half to match the top half
2) if the top half keeps fading, and how long it takes before it no longer changes color.
There is no time frame for these observations and results will be posted whenever I feel a result has been
obtained.

Thanks go out to my employer (which will remain unnamed) for providing the paper, markers and the unending lighting
of painfully boring tube lights above my desk. Also, thanks to my co-workers for not taking it down after looking
at me like I was insane after explaining it to them.