Retro-reflective tape is basically a film that reflects light or radiates light back to its original source with the help of glass spheres or manmade prisms. Even though it might seem like a cakewalk, it is not. The process of the reflective tape is such that it will reflect light back to its source no matter what is the position of this source. Think of it like this. Suppose you are standing in front of the parabolic shape such as a satellite dish and threw a ball into the dish, you will notice it bounce back and hit you. Similarly, the tape is just like that satellite dish but you have to keep in mind that you are in the correct position to make it work.
Reflective and retro-reflective properties are slightly different and must not be confused with each other. All retro-reflective surfaces are usually reflective in nature; however, not every reflective surface is retro-reflective. It is this reflective property that makes such substances extremely useful in traffic control and potential accident warning signs. You just have to keep in mind that your eyes are in line with the source of the light so that you can see it when it is being reflected back. This is precisely why reflective tape is so crucial for better traffic control as the car headlights and drivers’ eyes are in basic configuration, enabling both the driver and passenger to see the road as the streets lights turn on.
Reflective Tape: How does it work?
Let’s imagine two individuals walking on a road with each on two sides of the street. Now if ‘A’ shines a flashlight down the street at any reflective tape on a trailer, this tape will light it up for him. But the other person, say ‘B’, who is on the other side of the street, will not able to see it. If both would have shined the light, they would be able to view the tape perfectly. Why does this happen? It is because the tape consists of either glass beads or prisms that accumulate the light, focuses it, and then bounces it back to the original source.
The next question that will plague your mind is how does it do so? Now, think you are present in a room which has a round shape and you are standing at the center. When you throw a ball at the wall, it is likely to get back to you. A reflective tape functions in the exact similar manner. The tape will bend or refract light in such a manner that it always goes out the way it entered. Another amazing feature of the reflective tape is that it does not have to be horizontal to the onlooker for it to reflect the light back. It will be able to shine several beams back in various directions. Although flat against the light would be ideal, one can get a substantial light return even at the sharp angles.
Different Types of Reflective Tapes
For your information, it is also crucial to know that there are two different types of reflective tapes, glass bead and prismatic. The glass bead tapes make use of the microscopic glass spheres to reflect light but due to the imperfect and curve surface in the glass beads, these tapes are less reflective and are only 30% efficient. However, these are more affordable, CAD cuttable implying that these can be used to cut numbers, designs, and letters out of the tape for creating other reflective signs and graphics, and lastly, these tapes reflect light at wider angles. Prismatic reflective is 90% more efficient and brighter than the glass bead tapes. If you are involved in DOT regulated trucks or coast guard search and rescue, prismatic tapes are absolutely essential.
So, now that you have gained a considerable knowledge about the definition, working procedure, and types of reflective tapes, if you are interested in purchasing such materials for road safety, accident sites, or for commercial needs, you should look for a reliable and professional company offering these.
Author Bio: James Wilkins, a regular blogger on reflective properties, here writes on a detailed account about the reflective tape, its definition, working procedure, and its different kinds, which will further help you in using its different applications.