Photographic Activity Test

Photographic Activity Test

The Photographic Activity Test, widely known as the PAT, is an International Standard in itself: ISO 18916. The PAT explores the possibility of chemical interactions between photographs and a given material after prolonged contact. It uses two special detectors. One detector screens for oxidation and reduction reactions which can cause image fade, silver mirroring, and red or gold spots. The other detector, screens for chromophores –compounds that can cause yellowing of the support. All materials must pass the PAT to be considered photo-safe.

We encourage producers of photo-storage and display products to purchase and review ISO 18916 describing the Photographic Activity Test. After reviewing the standard, contact us with any questions that may arise. ISO 18916 can be purchased at

Turnaround time for testing is six to eight weeks from the time samples are received. In fairness to all of our clients, rush service is not available. All test results are confidential. A diagram of the PAT jig is shown, each layer is labeled.

Standard PAT (Black & White PAT)

Evaluates possible chemical interactions between enclosures and photographic images after long-term storage. Photographic images being: silver gelatin, chromogenic, inkjet (dye and pigment), dye-diffusion transfer, electrophotography (dry and liquid toner), and diazo.

Color PAT (Dye Coupler Reactivity Test)

Evaluates possible additional staining reactions produced between enclosures and the dye-couplers present in chromogenic photographs after long-term storage. This is a product-specific test, meaning that even if the enclosure in question is not reactive with the chromogenic detector used for testing, it may be reactive with other chromogenic images (though this is unlikely). Note: This is not a stand-alone test. This test is performed in addition to the standard PAT.

What We Need

For the PAT, the customer shall provide IPI with the equivalent of three 8 x 10 inch (20.32 x 25.4 cm) sheets of each material submitted for testing. If your material is rigid, so that it cannot be cut with a craft knife, please provide twelve 2 x 4 cm (not inches!) pieces instead. If your material does not come in sheet form, please contact us to discuss quantity requirements.

Please label the top left corner of each sample with the product name or code. Only the side labeled will be tested. Our test reports will refer only to the name specified on the label.

The PAT is a destructive test; sample materials cannot be returned.

Materials for testing should be shipped to:

Rochester Institute of Technology/IPI
Attn: IPI Testing Services
70 Lomb Memorial Drive, GAN-2000
Rochester, NY 14623-5604
(585) 475-5199


PAT & Color PAT
First two samples inclusive (minimum charge) $900
Each additional sample (sent at same time) $325
Bulk contracts (15 PATs performed over a 12-month period) $4500
One-day training for PAT $1200

For bulk contracts, Standard PAT may be combined with Color PAT; pH Tests must be a separate contract (cannot be combined with Standard or Color PAT). Some products may need more than one test; for example, a paper envelope that needs one test for the paper and another for the glue seam is considered two samples.

Questions about testing? Get in touch! Email Us