Working principle and application of reflective tape


Reflective tape is widely used for work wears and outdoor sportswear. Why it is so popular?

1. Reflective materials work at night by bouncing back the light from a source.

2. To work properly it needs to be dark and there must be a light source such as car headlights.

3. Light can also be reflected by white or pale objects such as a newspaper or white carrier bag; these will reflect light but scatter it in all directions so a driver will see some brightness.

However, special reflective materials work much better. They are called 'retro-reflective' because they are designed to bounce most of the light back to its source instead of scattering it. The light from a drivers' headlights will go straight back to the driver who will see the reflective materials REALLY well.

1. Reflective materials can help drivers to see you three seconds sooner at night - which could save your life.

2. Many People Don't Realize it but...reflective material on your clothing will not reliably help you to be seen in daytime (unless it is also fluorescent)! Although reflective tape can sometimes glint in the sunlight, it doesn't show up properly to drivers until it after dark.

There are different kinds of reflective materials. You have probably seen the silver grey reflective bands on the yellow high vis jackets that builders wear. This is called glass bead tape. When light shines on them at night they shine very bright white. Glass bead tape is cheap to make which is one reason why it is so popular. Other reflective materials are made of special plastic vinyl. Lots of tiny prism shapes are sealed inside. These prisms bounce the light around and then straight back to the source. This is called micro prismatic retro-reflective tape. This prismatic tape is quite costly to make but is very long-lasting and can look great as it can be made in lots of different colors, shapes and can even have a holographic effect. It is very popular on better quality, stylish high vis items.

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