Most UV curing involves two ranges of wavelengths working simultaneously (if IR is included, three). The short wavelength works on the surface layer and the long wavelength works in the deep layer of the ink or coating. This theorem is the result of short wavelengths being absorbed in the surface layer and unable to reach deep layers. Insufficient short-wave exposure can cause the surface to become sticky; insufficient long-wave energy can result in poor adhesion. The thickness of each formulation and film will benefit from an appropriate short, long wavelength energy rate.
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UV source wavelength plays an important role
The most basic mercury lamps emit energy in these two ranges, but its strong emission at short wavelengths makes it particularly suitable for coatings and thin ink layers. Highly absorbable materials, such as adhesives and screen inks, are formulated to be suitable for long-wave curing with long-wavelength light triggers. The tubes used to cure these materials contain additives as well as mercury, which emits more UV under long-wave UV. These long-wave lamps also radiate some short-wave energy, which is sufficient to cope with the curing of the surface.
Many very special applications, such as curing large amounts of materials containing titanium oxide as pigment additives, or curing through plastic or glass, require long-wave curing because these materials almost completely block short-waves.