What is Reflective Material

Reflective material was first introduced back in the 1930’s for use on stop signs and asphalt and by the 1980’s, had evolved into silver piping on sneakers and backpacks. Reflective material is created with tiny spherical glass beads (1/2 the size of a human hair). Made from optical-grade glass, these perfect microscopic spheres are coated on one side with aluminum and then organized aluminum-side down and adhered to material to create a reflective surface. The process allows light to bounce directly back to its source. No matter what angle the light strikes the material, the wearer is illuminated and seen. 

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Not Your Grandfather’s Reflective.

Brilliant Reflective is retroreflective material. That means that when the light from a car’s headlight shines onto the strip, almost 100% of the light will reflect off and go directly back to the source. There’s no diffusion, no waste, all the light bounces back to the driver.

1937: 3M manufactures a reflective tape to bond to road surfaces to help drivers see along what most certainly dark roads were. Like many bright ideas, this one was ahead of its time. Unsolvable – at that time – durability issues prevented the idea from full roll-out but all was not lost.

1947: The material was affixed instead to vertical road signs so that drivers were able to read them in time to take action. First used in the UK, this product became the industry standard in the international traffic sign business for the following 25 years.

1971: After years of research, testing and development of its reflective material, 3M launched “High Intensity” material which returned 16% of incident light, nearly double of its predecessor. Very quickly, it became the standard for traffic signage, especially on highways and other high-speed roads where it’s vital to be able to read signs at a distance. For 30 years, this was the standard as it allowed a highest level of reflectivity available.

1995: Reflective material is used in the making of uniforms for people who work outside in potentially dangerous situations. These include employees of highway and road departments, utilities, and even your local school’s crossing guards. Additionally, the US military begins to issue reflective clothing to personnel for exercise and recreation, wanting to ensure

Further research has heightened the reflective quality to nearly 100%.

Soon after, it was seen in high-end jackets, running gear, biking equipment, and professional safety uniforms. Although more and more industries and manufacturers were beginning to use it, reflective material stayed the same skinny cord or patch of silver material it always was. No more.

Reflective visibility + function + fashion = COLOR!

Newly developed color reflective material is the next generation. Brilliant® Reflective revolutionized reflective material by applying a patented process of color to 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material, without impacting its reflectivity. Brilliant Color Reflective isn’t piping or cord, but strips of highly reflective colorized DIY material you can easily use to customize your favorite gear and clothing for maximum visibility and protection as well as a completely unique look – no two will be alike.