Sunday, April 21, 2013

Egyptian Blue's Amazing Qualities

Okay, this will sound totally nutzoid, but this article got me to wondering whether the "alternative history" folks may be right about some aspects of ancient Egyptian technology???  It's only recently that we actually finally deciphered out of what Egyptian blue pigment was made.   I've been posting articles about Egyptian blue and similarly-colored pigments used by other ancient civilizations.  Did the Egyptians know about the qualities of this pigment, and did they somehow use the pigment as other than as a decorative device in ways we are only now discovering for ourselves...  

Tomb of Nebumun demonstrates shades of Egyptian blue pigment.  Interestingly, or perhaps
to be expected, these shades of blue are very popular today in home decor.  Turquoise,
aqua, teal, sky blue, and robin's egg blue, are all featured in today's upscale decor.


From Egyptian Blue to Infrared

Monday, April 08, 2013
Egyptian blue is known as the world’s oldest artificial pigment, first used more than 4,500 years ago, found on wall paintings at Luxor and sculptures recovered from the Parthenon. The hue comes from a compound called calcium copper tetrasilicate. Over the past decade, museum conservators and archaeologists have taken advantage of its properties to spot the presence of Egyptian blue on antiquities: When red light is shone on the pigment, it reflects infrared light, which can be detected via night-vision goggles or cameras.

Chemists at the University of Georgia (UGA) have now determined that the luminescent quality of calcium copper tetrasilicate is retained even when the compound is reduced to what are termed “nanosheets,” a thousand times thinner than a human hair. “Even if you have a single layer, the thinnest possible, you still get the effect,” explains UGA’s Tina Salguero. At that scale, she believes, you can start thinking about modern applications.

Salguero says that Egyptian blue’s primary molecule could be incorporated into a dye to improve medical imaging, since the infrared radiation it would reflect can pass through human tissue. The pigment’s luminescent quality could also be effective for developing new types of security ink, typically used to secure currencies and other official documents from forgery. Further, the possibilities for a second act for the long-out-of-use coloring extend to devices such as light-emitting diodes and optical fibers, both of which transmit signals using the relatively long wavelength of infrared light.

The UGA team is now looking at another compound, barium copper tetrasilicate, which was also used as an ancient pigment, in this case by the Chinese.

Prior posts on Egyptian blue:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ancient "Blue" Back in the News

Prior post - did the old world and new world "blue" hues have something in common? Use the Goddesschess blog search feature, type in the word "blue" (without the quotes), and a whole bunch of interesting articles will appear to give you background on this fascinating, ancient color.

In the news today - ta da! "Egyptian Blue Found in Romanasque Altarpiece"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Color Blue Back in the News

First, a follow-up article of sorts, on the use of ancient Egyptian blue in a 12th century CE altarpiece in a Barcelona church:

Egyptian Blue Found in Romanesque Altarpiece

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Is There a Common Link Between These Ancient Blue Hues?

I've no idea. I'm not suggesting that the recipe for either blue travelled from Old World to New World or vice versa. I'm wondering is there an underlying chemical conection or similarity in the composition of the minerals in the clay and/or rocks that the Maya used to produce their cobalt blue color and the minerals in the rocks the ancient Egytians used to produce their cobalt blue color?

Mar 16, 2010
Archaeologists: Maya Blue pigment recipe moved around
An archaeologist reports the ingredients of "Maya Blue" pigment beloved by Central America's ancients may have been widely mined, not traded as previously suggested.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Latest on Egyptian Blue

Ancient "Egyptian blue" pigment points to new telecommunications, security ink technology
February 20, 2013

A bright blue pigment used 5,000 years ago is giving modern scientists clues toward the development of new nanomaterials with potential uses in state-of-the-art medical imaging devices, remote controls for televisions, security inks and other technology. That's the conclusion of an article on the pigment, Egyptian blue, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Maya Blue Back in the News

From Fox News
X-Rays Reveal Secret of Ancient Mayan Dye
By Devin Powell
Published July 27, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Physicists have created a dye that promises to last for a thousand years. The secret to this extraordinary durability? Its formula is based on a Mayan pigment, a brilliant blue color that survives to this day on the walls of their ancient temples.

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