Reflective Glass Beads – Adding Reflectivity to your Lines.
You have probably noticed that the painted stripes on the interstate or local roads light up when your headlights hit them. The lines light up due to reflective beads embedded in the surface of the paint or thermoplastic used to stripe the road. To make the lines reflective glass beads are distributed on top of wet paint or hot thermoplastic at a rate of about 6 pounds to the gallon of paint. When light hits the small glass spheres they reflect back a portion of that light to the source.
REFLECTIVE GLASS BEADS
Glass beads or spheres are the most common and oldest way of reflecting light in commercial applications. Thousands of small glass beads embedded in traffic paint will cause it to light up when automobile lights hit it. Because of their rounded parabolic shape and clarity, each glass bead reflects light back to the source.
AASHTO reflective traffic beads are designed to be added to the surface of traffic paint to make it retro-reflective. Standard AASHTO Highway Spheres are rated as a type 1 bead. (In comparison, type 3 beads, which are brighter, are used for airport runways.) The addition of these glass spheres has a dramatic effect on the night time visibility of lines and painted markings.
The recommended rate of application is 6 pounds per gallon of traffic paint. The beads are partially embedded by sprinkling them ON TOP of wet paint or hot thermoplastic. They provide a sharp degree of reflectivity in wet or dry conditions. These are the same beads you will see at night on interstate highway lines. The glass beads can also be used in a variety of other applications where reflectivity is desired. Whenever they are distributed on top of wet paint the surface becomes reflective. They have beome very popular in craft type applications.
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida, Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 30 years experience in the parking lot striping business. Expert in reflective visibility solutions.