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Things To Consider When Choosing Between Glass Bead And Prismatic Tape

When you are looking for materials that meet the requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 Standard on High Visibility Safety Apparel, you have two choices. They are Prismatic or Silver Glass Bead Retro-Reflective Materials. Both of these materials meet the requirements necessary. In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of each. Read on to learn more.

By : Paladin Zhang

Things To Consider When Choosing Between Glass Bead and Prismatic Tape

Pros and Cons of Silver Glass Bead Retro-Reflective Materials

PROS: For flexibility, silver glass bead retro-reflective material is a good choice. In addition to flexibility, this material is light in weight and easy to work with. It is versatile for application in a number of different work settings.

Light that is returned to the headlights is termed “reflectivity”. With this material, reflectivity is accomplished via the use of microscopic spheres of glass that are embedded in the fabric or in an adhesive that is activated by heat.

CONS: In wet conditions, this material is not able to deliver good performance. When it becomes wet, it loses its reflective properties for the most part. In fact, you can actually see its visibility diminishing as it becomes wet, so it is not a good material for alerting oncoming traffic of possible hazards in wet conditions.

The reason for this problem is that water interferes with the reflective optics. It causes the scattering of light rather than the reflection of it. When this happens, approaching motorists cannot see the material in wet weather, and this is very detrimental.

Another downside is the fact that glass beads are subject to abrasion and wear. When seat belts rub against them or they are subjected to other normal contact during work tasks, they lose their brilliance and become dull.

Pros and Cons of Prismatic Retro-Reflective Material (aka: PRM)

PROS: The technology of PRM differs from that of glass beads because it makes us of micro-prisms numbering in the thousands. These micro-prisms are protected from damage and from moisture by a clear plastic film. PRM materials are very efficient in returning the light put out by oncoming headlights. In fact, they are far superior to glass bead products in this and many other ways. For example, PRM is available in a variety of fluorescent colors for greater visibility at dusk and dawn or when weather conditions inhibit visibility.

CONS: PRM is not a good choice for a very cold environment, however. The reason for this is that the vinyl material becomes very stiff; whereas, glass beaded materials retain their flexibility in cold weather. Furthermore, PRM is quite heavy when compared with glass bead materials, so it can be harder to work with.

Analyze and Choose

It is easy to see that both products have good points and bad points. When choosing, it is important that you analyze your needs and your setting to make an informed and appropriate choice. Clearly, glass bead would not be a good choice for a wet environment or one in which the material would experience a great deal of abrasion. An example of this would be a baggage handler who must brave the weather and carry heavy burdens. In this instance, PRM would be the better choice.

Author : Aria Meyer is a freelance write and an active blogger. She writes mainly about fashion and technology, but she also writes about other topics too. She is currently working with several ecommerce websites to help them with content. Aria got her Bachelor Degree from Cal State Long Beach and currently living in Walnut, CA. Right now, she is working closely with to help them grow the marketing department.

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