This paper reports the results of particle size analysis and colour measurements concerning yellow powders, synthesised in our laboratories according to ancient recipes aiming at producing pigments for paintings, ceramics, and glasses. These pigments are based on lead and antimony as chemical elements, that, combined in different proportions and fired at different temperatures, times, and with various additives, gave materials of yellow colours, changing in hues and particle size. Artificial yellow pigments, based on lead and antimony, have been widely studied, but no specific investigation on particle size distribution and its correlation to colour hue has been performed before. In order to evaluate the particle size distribution, segmentation of sample data has been performed using the MATLAB software environment. The extracted parameters were examined by principal component analysis (PCA) in order to detect differences and analogies between samples on the base of those parameters. Principal component analysis was also applied to colour data acquired by a reflectance spectrophotometer in the visible range according to the CIELAB colour space. Within the two examined groups, i.e., yellows containing NaCl and those containing K-tartrate, differences have been found between samples and also between different areas of the same powder indicating the inhomogeneity of the synthesised pigments. On the other hand, colour data showed homogeneity within each yellow sample and clear differences between the different powders. The comparison of results demonstrates the potentiality of the particle segmentation and analysis in the study of morphology and distribution of pigment powders produced artificially, allowing the characterisation of the lead and antimony-based pigments through micro-image analysis and colour measurements combined with a multivariate approach.
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