Talk:Iridescence

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Off-topic on structural coloration?[edit]

An uncited section has been added on the related but not identical topic of structural coloration. Structural colours are by no means always iridescent, so while the two topics are connected, iridescence is not the parent topic. Given this situation, and the fact that there is already a link to structural coloration in the preceding section, I suggest the new section should be removed, unless anyone knows of a good reason why not? Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:49, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

All iridescence is caused by structural colors. If structural colors exist that are not iridescent, I am not familiar with them, but that is beside the point. (All liquids are fluid but not all fluids are liquids. Does that mean the properties of a fluid should not be discussed on the liquid article?) This article should have brief summaries of the causes, with main article links to the more detailed article. Having mere link provides no information as to how it actually works, so is inadequate, and this article is very lacking in providing the reader with useful information, but so far is primarily just a photo gallery. I believe the article should be expanded to provide brief summaries of the different types of iridescence. Zaereth (talk) 17:06, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. Several points to make, the first that it is generally not the best plan to add material and then return to add citations; usually, the best thing is to find sources, cite them and create short statements summarizing the key points. So I agree about the 'brief summaries of the causes' but not about the approach. Next, if all iridescence is structural then this article should be a child of structural coloration, not the reverse as it is currently written. But what do you mean that all i. is caused by structural colours? It seems quite a stretch to this non-physicist to describe an oil film as a structure: such a claim definitely needs citing, and probably needs a supporting quote. I understand s.c. as being created by solid structures, not necessarily biological, with repeating elements that may be crystalline, etc. You are obviously right about the old photo gallery style, but that is no justification for adding unsourced material, for inverting the article's structure, or for making unsupported claims. You will note that I have refrained from reverting your additions - I reserve the right - and agree there should be brief, cited summaries of the different types. Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:47, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
BTW the s.c. article gives explicit cited examples of structural colours that are not iridescent, which demonstrates that s.c. is not a subset (and should not be a sub-article) of this one, so it is not "beside the point" as you claim. If as you imply, this article is instead a sub-article of s.c., then it is normal to make a very brief mention of the parent topic, without attempting to redefine it (and indeed it would be wrong to do so). Further, the new section overlaps with the existing material. Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:51, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but something came up in real life and I had to cut my edits short. That happens a lot in my life, but I will make sure to add sources in the future before hitting the save button.
A structure is defined as: "the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something." An oil film certainly has a structure, which can be measured in terms of thickness, viscosity, weight, specific gravity, etc... In fact, anything with any physical substance has a structure, even a gas.
I was not really trying to make one article a parent article and the other one a subarticle. I was merely trying to add some useful information to this one, written at a very simple level, to help the reader's understanding. I am of the belief that an article should not rely on links as an explanation. Many people are not going to bother to follow the link, many others will want a brief summary before being thrown head-first into a more complicated article. Most importantly, the reader should be able to finish and understand the entire article before ever needing to click on a link, because it disrupts the flow of the text when you have to keep jumping between articles just to find out what this one is talking about. In other words, the article should be able to stand on its own.
I really don't care if you remove the section. I was simply trying to help the reader understand how it works, because the description section goes into no detail at all, and this entire article is very lacking in anything useful.Zaereth (talk) 18:20, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
That would be a last resort. Improving the article is clearly a useful goal. I do not believe that because oil has a structure, its colours are "structural coloration"; the term is apparently used only in a biological or perhaps biomimetic context. Adding facts is a help when it clarifies an article; repeating or overlapping with an earlier section may not achieve this. Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:36, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, you're pretty much right about usage of "structural coloration," but I would amend it to say that the term is primarily used when the main goal is to produce a color, which was likely why Lord Raleigh coined the term. However, the process of thin-film interference is no different for an oil film than it is for a dielectric mirror. (In fact, such mirrors consist of very intricately designed, multilayer coatings, varying in thickness and refractive index to produce very narrow bandwidth reflections, which is quite similar to many birds.) The term seems to have gone out of popular use for the field of optics. However, besides biology, the term is also used in geology, meteorology, physics, coating technology (anodizing, iridescent paints, etc...) where the primary goal is to produce or describe a colored item. It's a very interesting (to me) and complex subject.
Anyway, that's my $0.02. Thanks for taking the time to talk about it. If you or anyone else who comments here still thinks it should be removed, then by all means, you have my blessing. (I'm being sincere, not sarcastic.) Zaereth (talk) 19:16, 7 April 2014 (UTC)