What Is Non-reflective Glass?

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Non-reflective glass is used in a variety of products where the highly reflective quality of ordinary glass would impede the visibility of whatever is behind the glass. This could include eyeglasses, picture frames, store windows, display cases and other areas where light reflection is detrimental to viewing. Many consumers do not have a clear idea about what non-reflective glass is or how it works.

Definition

  • Making glass non-reflective is a process in which either glass itself is altered or the surface is mechanically changed to prevent ordinary light reflection. This is done by a number of processes, some of which are performed as the glass is manufactured and others after the glass is created. Either process can provide sufficient glare reduction for better viewing of subjects behind the glass.

How Non-reflective Glass Is Made

  • Ordinary glass reflects light easily. Non-reflective glass is processed to dull the surface of the glass, giving it a matte finish so that it is clear enough to see through but not as shiny and reflective as ordinary glass. To do this, glass manufacturers produce the glass so that one surface is not completely smooth. The glass is sometimes etched with acid to reduce reflection, or a thin coating is applied to the glass. This process diffuses the hotspot of intense light that normally occurs with regular glass. The light is diffused to more points, reducing its reflective properties and the resultant glare.

Advantages of Non-reflective Glass

  • The hotspots of light reflection on regular glass can be visual distractions for athletes and hunters, inhibiting their ability to focus properly on targets. Non-reflective glass helps eliminate this problem. Non-reflective glass is also good for those who work constantly on computers, magnifiers or microscopes where constant light reflection can cause eyes strain. Non-reflective glass offers a softer, more muted light transference that is more comfortable for these types of activities. Non-reflective glass provides better visual acuity for night driving because the reflection from oncoming headlights is reduced.

Disadvantages of Non-reflective Glass

  • One of the disadvantages of non-reflective glass is that it may give whatever is behind it a slightly fuzzy appearance. This can produce distortion in details that may be important for some types of work. The muting effect may give paintings and photos a slightly softer appearance. Though this may work well with some types of artwork, it may unnecessarily blur other types. Drawings or paintings with sharp lines may have less clarity, and those with subtle shading may appear less defined.

References

  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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