Metallized versus Non Metallized Micro Prismatic Reflective Tapes
These two types of construction refer to prismatic retro reflective tapes. A prismatic tape uses man made prisms or mirror to reflect light back to the source. (This is different from glass bead tape which uses glass spheres to reflect light.)
Metallized Prismatic Reflective Sheeting
This type of film is created by first creating an array of micro prisms then coating the top of these prisms with clear or colored polymer and metallizing the back of the prisms with a mirror type finish. This process completely protects the prisms so that the tape can be cut in any place without compromising the integrity of the prisms. You can cut letters, shapes, numbers, etc… without having to worry about the prisms becoming contaminated with the elements. This tape often has a pattern on the front which is normally used to make the tape more visible or vivid in the daytime. It is also much thinner than Non Metallized prismatic tapes and because of this can be wrapped around smaller diameter curves. (snow poles, bollards, etc..)
Non Metallized Prismatic Reflective Sheeting
This type of film is often referred to as an air backed prismatic. Non metallized films are made by first creating a prismatic array. This can be clear or colored. This layer is then laminated onto another layer that provides a white background for the top prismatic layer. These films are normally more vivid than metallized films since they use a white background versus a metallized mirror background. The downside is that the two laters can delaminate. It is also thicker and less flexible. This this type of film is great for signs and other static applications but for vehicle graphics a metallized film is a must.
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida , Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 22 years of experience in the reflective safety business. Specializing in vehicle accident and rear end collision reduction through increased visibility.