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Non-Reflective Glass

Non-Reflective Glass

Date posted: July 18, 2017 // Glass

If you have ever stared into a shop window and been unable to view its contents clearly, because they were obscured by your own reflection, then you will probably agree that this unwanted effect can be a bit of a nuisance. Likewise, this same effect could also interfere with the viewing of a framed work of art, or a family photograph. If, on the other hand, you have ever been suddenly blinded by the reflected glare from the windscreen of an oncoming car whilst travelling at close to the national speed limit, you would probably upgrade your assessment of this optical phenomenon from mildly annoying to decidedly dangerous. In each of the examples given, the problem could actually have been eliminated with the use of a suitably non-reflective glass.

The phenomenon is not confined to shop windows, photo frames and car windscreens, however. For example, the precision lenses contained in cameras, telescopes and binoculars, as well as in a wide variety of lesser known precision optical instruments can all be subject to this same effect, unless they have been specially treated to prevent it. Currently, the effect is prevented using one of two possible methods, both of which involve the special treatment of at least one surface of the item concerned. One method makes use of acid to produce a near-invisible etching of the glass’s surface, while the other applies a specialised coating that achieves the same effect. The result, in each case, is a non-reflective glass in which the effect of glare is eliminated.

For windows and photo frames, for economy, the treatment need only be applied to a single side, as it is only required to limit the glare on the surface facing the observer. In optical instruments, however, the requirement will usually be for both surfaces to be treated, and while coatings are most often used for this purpose, etching may also be used for some optical components, while others may even be semi-silvered, in order to provide a reflected beam that can be used for comparison purposes in quantitative analyses.

Tinting, especially of car windscreens, is often achieved by the application of coloured films. However, unless the material used conforms to the approved optical standards, it may result in reduced driver visibility. It is far more sensible, therefore, to rely on the vehicle manufacturer for such modifications. By contrast, for many of the other applications of non-reflective glass, such as to reduce glare while simultaneously providing more energy-efficient windows, the required material is available in South Africa from an established industry leader in several areas of materials science – Labotec Industrial Technologies.

Among our company’s core services is the supply of glass with all manner of specialised properties, including resistance to heat, fire, UV light and even X-rays, as well as other forms of ionising radiation. To discuss your special needs, be sure to chat to one of our experts at LIT Africa. We look forward to hearing from you.