How to Measure Gloss using the Elcometer 480 Glossmeter

Gloss is a vital aspect to measure when it comes to the visual appearance of objects. Manufacturers of different products will typically specify the need for different levels of gloss, depending on the product. Manufacturers of cars or magazines, for example, typically aim for a higher gloss finish than companies coating military or naval vehicles.

So how do you measure gloss?

Typically, using an optical instrument called a glossmeter, which provides the user with quantifiable gloss measurements, expressed in gloss units, or GUs.

This video shows you how to measure gloss using a gloss meter - specifically the Elcometer 480 Glossmeter.

This is why we use a glossmeter to objectively measure gloss.

The gloss measurement range is from 0-2000GU, where 0GU is a perfect matt finish that reflects absolutely no light, and 2000GU is a perfect mirror that reflects all of the light.

Glossmeters measure gloss by directing light at a fixed angle (known as the angle of incidence), onto the test surface. The glossmeter measures the amount of light that gets reflected off the surface through a photodetector, which is positioned at the same angle opposite to the light source. Typically, the more light that’s reflected, the glossier the surface is, as high gloss surfaces reflect light distinctively.

Semi-gloss and matt surfaces, on the other hand, diffuse the light, scattering it in all directions. The more uniformly the light is scattered, the less intense the reflection of light onto the photodetector, resulting in a lower gloss reading.

To ensure you take gloss measurements that best represent the visual appearance of the surface, several measurement angles are used. These angles have been defined by National & International Standards bodies, and the various Test Methods. These angles are typically 20°, 60°, and 85°; and for some industries, 45° and 75° are also used.

Glossmeters are typically supplied having either a single 60° measurement angle, dual 20° and 60° measurement angles or triple 20°, 60° and 85° measurement angles.

Gloss Range

The Elcometer 480 Glossmeter is available as either a simple entry-level 60° glossmeter or state of the art Single, Dual or Triple angle gloss meter variants.

Gloss meters can be supplied with or without statistics or memory to store readings; data output via USB or Bluetooth to export those readings into a spreadsheet; or into data management software, such as ElcoMaster<sup>®</sup> for example – which allows you to generate professional inspection reports, instantly. And that’s only just the beginning.

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