Rit Dye NIR

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    • #107175

        Having a hard time finding a definitive answer on whether or not Rit Dye will make me look like a glow stick under NODS. Does anyone have some experience with this?

      • #107176

          Well it really depends on what color you want to dye yourself. And your preparations. Personally you should shower first with a good pumic based soap like Lava. Make sure to scrub your nether regions well.

        • #107177
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

            It’s a complex answer, based not just on the dyes used, but the material being dyed. This combined with the existing dyes in the the material and any subsequent interactions with them and the additional dye.

            So the easiest solution is a test swatch or item then viewed with a NOD alone and with a IR light source, preferably in a higher and lower spectrum range.

            Additionally, to further complicate matters the possible use of COTS products to enhance effectiveness of a given material item.

            Consider the following (though beyond the scope of initial question):

            Hyperspectral Imaging to Develop Adaptable Near Infrared Camouflage

            (From Beginning Page 10)

            The availability of commercial and surplus military night vision optics utilizing generation I and II (GEN I & II) light intensifying technologies has caused an increase in concern of the spectral qualities of camouflage, specifically the near infrared. A field expedient appliqué which allows individuals to match the background spectral response in the NIR can significantly reduce the possibility of detection. Initial studies utilized COTS products applied to different patterns and clothing materials and were evaluated with both hyperspectral imaging and GEN II night vision devices. These early results indicated that it was possible to use a NIR absorber to alter the NIR reflectance of the materials, thus decreasing the overall probability of detection. Current research is directed towards the identification of NIR materials, potentially both absorbers and fluorescers that can achieve the desired effect of matching the spectral background across both the visible and NIR without irreparable damage to the clothing material. The use of such appliqués would allow individuals, with specific mission sets, to apply and assess the effectiveness of these appliqués in the operational area.


            Several COTS items were purchased from the Post Exchange that spanned across several different classes of products. They included spray paints, (Krylon Camo Spray Paint and Krylon
            Clear Spray Paint), deodorants (Sure and Gillette), and hair spray (Suave and Aqua Net). The materials are depicted in Figure 2. A NIR absorbing COTS dye was purchased from Fabric Holding Inc.

            Figure 2: COTS products used in initial study

            The initial test showed some excellent results on Black Control Fabric in the NIR with Krylon Camouflage working the best but also covering with paint whatever was under it with paint. Aqua Net hair spray came close to Krylon in the largest effect.

            When they applied the same COTS products to MARPAT (below) they found that the Krylon turned the whole camouflage brown (eliminating Krylon paint as an adequate method), so the next best was again the Aqua Net hair spray.

            Then they measured the overall background and found that applying the Aqua Net to the MARPAT Woodland actually came close to matching the background reflectance level.

            So does this mean you should use Aqua Net?

            I am not ready to advise that, but this initial available testing does demonstrate the complex interactions involved.

          • #107178

              I have used RIT Taupe color dye on snow overwhites and it’s GTG. Did not see any more glint than regular cotton or poly/cotton. If you break it up with a little Krylon it works even better.

              Back in the day, the Teams used black RIT dye on the BDU cammies, which turned the tan gray and darken them overall. But they were supposed to work well under NIR, although I never personally saw them. Probably cuz they’re Ninjas.

              Like the man said, gonna depend on base material. I would think a cotton blend would soak it up pretty good; other synthetics, maybe not so much.

              What specifically are you looking to do?

            • #107179

                I’m trying to tone down some DCU MOLLE II pads for my ruck. Spray paint is fine but RIT dye is cheaper and is a little bit of a “cleaner” solution.

              • #107180

                  RIT is somewhat/moderately IR-reflective. Attached is a pic (A) taken with digital camera modified to see into near-infrared. Anything bright pink is reflecting a lot of NIR. The three items on the bottom left are untreated. Meanwhile, the boonie and revision goggle with sleeve are treated according to the manufacturer.

                  At the top is a poly-cotton trouser dyed coyote-brown with RIT camel and apple green. It has some IR content but not as much as that admin pouch beneath. Both are the same color to the naked eye.

                  Pic (B) shows some ESSTAC pouches and a hydration carrier. Laying across is another strip of webbing and a small rectangular piece from same that’s been dyed via RIT black. Every item in that pic is the same shade of ranger green except for the dyed piece which came out dark gray.

                  Last pic (C) shows what spray paint does. It’s a black SOFTT-W hit with some Rustoleum camo OD green. That pink line is from where the rubber band was masking the black nylon underneath.

                  I don’t have any AquaNet but will try some soon.

                • #107181
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                    Anything bright pink is reflecting a lot of NIR.

                    Remember, just reflecting NIR is only part of the equation as almost everything reflects NIR to a certain degree.

                    It can be broken down to two main problems:

                    The NIR reflection of two different (contrasting in the visual range) colors can be so similar it appears as one color in NIR.

                    The relative reflection contrast between the NIR reflection of natural foliage, soil, and rocks and the individual clothing worn.

                    So if the pattern is less reflective than environment it could be almost as bad as too reflective.

                    Ideally the camouflage will be varying between less, neutral, and limited high NIR reflection values in order to break up your silhouette, in similar fashion to how it works in the visual spectrum.

                  • #107182

                      Joe hit the nail on the head. The best NIR pattern I ever saw was, wait for it… DPM! I think that’s because they really nailed some different IR reflective wave lengths in the color selection and treatment. The camo pattern stays very disruptive (high contrast) when viewed under NIR, as opposed to many that just “blob out”.

                      And the key as Joe again stated is to match these wavelengths to your surrounding veg. So the fact that it reflects isn’t the deal; it’s the wavelength that it reflects in. In a heavily forested area, under NIR, DPM is the friggin king of camo.

                      I think what you’re seeing here is “retro” solution dying, similar to what the mfg’s are doing to cloth and webbing to make it less IR reflective, or at least match the reflectance to organic matter.

                      We did this just instinctively when first issued this stuff. I thought it looked so shiny, just in the visual spectrum, as compared to the old cotton duck, that I spray-painted the shit out of the stuff. It felt like wearing a sheet of plastic out there. I ran my old cotton duck webbing for a long time after the ALICE came out, just for this reason.

                      I did pull out my old dyed snow whites and looked at them under NIR last night. They weren’t bad. With some good krylon disruptive patterns, you’d be GTG.

                      For your particular project, I’d say dye the shit out of those things. I used to run DCU trou with woodland jackets out at Pendelton, until I saw how bright that shit was. Unless you’re in a pure desert environment, those things stand out big time, especially after they fade out a bit. Might work OK with some snow (or maybe sand) on the ground, but other than that, too bright for me.

                    • #107183
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                        The best NIR pattern I ever saw was, wait for it… DPM! I think that’s because they really nailed some different IR reflective wave lengths in the color selection and treatment. The camo pattern stays very disruptive (high contrast) when viewed under NIR, as opposed to many that just “blob out”.

                        Here is a pic I found online to demonstrate what Diz is talking about.

                      • #107184

                          Long story short: do the dye job as well as mix it up with a little spray paint over the top.

                          Thanks for all the great info guys.

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