Taming the Compatibility Beast

Messy Color™ is developed and tested to work well within existing product lines marketed as 104 COE. Testing is compared against the major players within the "104" offerings (Effetre, Vetrofond, and Lauscha) using the current industry standard of the Trident Seal Test.

Many factors work together to determine overall compatibility between different glasses. The most commonly discussed factor is the coefficient of expansion (COE), however this only gives a partial indication to the fit of two different glasses. Viscosity (stiffness), glass type, annealing, torch work (burn-out, strike, etc…), final product shape, thick and thin joints, thin layers and reactions between glasses all play a role in the resultant strain caused by variations between glasses. Trident seal testing measures resultant strain between different glasses based on the differences in glass properties. It does not account for the processes in the artist's studio, such as annealing, torch working environment, form, layering, and reactions. These effects are both difficult and expensive to quantify, but can be qualitatively expressed, i.e., loose, sloppy, stiff, strikes, burns-out easy, etc….

In order to develop relevant information for the glass artist, all Messy Color™ is trident seal tested at the factory to within ±2.0 points on the polarimeter (±20 nm/cm) relative to the basic clear glasses of the major players. Instead of working against a standard "104 COE", we decided to use the base clears that are most used by lampworkers as our "standard" glasses. This will yield more relevant information for the artist than some arbitrary standard. What you work with is relative to you and your processes.

While researching standards for our product offering, we verified that each manufacturer's "104 COE" line of products has variations within their own product offerings. As many know, the product lines span a wide range of potential compatibilities. Messy Color™ is developed to be compatible within the median range of the existing product lines' clear bases.

Compatibility Testing

During product development, new glass colors are run through numerous melts to refine the formula and test for compatibility with existing "104 COE" clear glass products. Every melt is trident seal tested against Effetre, Lauscha, and Vetrofond clear.

At the factory, we use the trident seal test because it measures resultant strain between two glasses based on the glass properties of COE, viscosity, and glass types. This test is performed by pulling 2-3 mm canes of glass, fusing them to a clear base glass, and annealing the seal. The test sample is then viewed though a polarimeter: an adjustable, graduated polarized lens system to show the amount of strain between the two glasses.

Practical Testing

Once the melt passes trident seal testing, we perform practical tests to confirm compatibility by lampworking Messy Color™ with various colored glass from Effetre and Vetrofond. We also fuse Messy Color™ rods with Effetre & Vetrofond color rods. All clear base glasses are also used in these tests. We want to make sure that Messy Color™ will be compatible when used by artists.

However, we simply cannot replicate every torch and technique that will be used by the numerous glass workers that will work with Messy Color™ glass. Therefore, we are recruiting artists to provide qualitative testing feedback, which we will compile and make public. Our goal is to provide comprehensive information about the working properties of Messy Color™ relative to other product offerings in the "104 COE" lines.

Full Disclosure

We are compiling our trident seal test results for our website. This information will be available to the public and includes multiple test results for each run against the common clears, including the production date of Messy Color™, the base clear tested, and the trident seal test measurement.

We are also gathering information about using Messy Color™ – what it works with, when there is a bad fit, what its reacts with, general techniques on how to use it best, etc…. We want Messy Color™ users to be fully informed about the working properties of our products. The best way to do this is to openly share information with the community about the results of our testing, issues that have been reported, and techniques that have worked.

For questions or comments on Creation is Messy testing practices or CiM products in general please feel free to Contact Us directly. We love to hear from you!