Optical frames, sunglasses and reading glasses are manufactured in a number of different materials. These materials vary in price, performance and durability. It is not always true that the most expensive material is the best. Each material behaves differently, so it is important to select the correct material for the purpose of the product.
Below we have explained the most commonly used materials and some of the benefits to each.
Acetate (Cellulose Acetate)
A man-made material widely used for eyeglass frames and premium sunglasses, acetate is produced from the cotton plant substance cellulose, stabilisers, and plasticisers. It can be injection molded or block cut for frame manufacturing.
Benefits - Acetate is lightweight and easily coloured. it can be crafted with beautiful, deep, rich colours and layers.
CP (Cellulose Propionate)
Made from cellulose flakes and propionic acid, acetic acid, plasticiser and stabiliser.
Benefits - The material is reasonably strong and temperature resistant. It has good elasticity and is resistant to ageing. It is also lighter than acetate.
PC are a group of thermoplastic polymers containing carbonate groups in their chemical structures. They are easily worked, moulded, and thermoformed making them perfect for injection moulded lower cost frames.
Benefits - PC is very strong and light meaning frames can be very comfortable. It can be moulded into any shape also making very good for wrapped styles.
TR90 is a thermoplastic material that is incredibly durable, flexible, and lightweight. Typically used for sports sunglasses, but increasingly being used for lightweight optical frames too.
Benefits - Frames made with TR90 tend to be very comfortable because they are light and flexible. They are also very storng and resilient to damage. The flexible nature of the material means it can bend and stretch much more than other plastics used for optical frames and sunglasses.
Titanium is a high-tech, high-performance pure metal that is most commonly used in high-end frame manufacturing.
Benefits - Titanium is ultra-light weight, corrosion resistant and strong. It is also a hypoallergenic metal.
Aluminum is a lightweight option for eyeglass frames. It is also incredibly widely used in other areas of production from cans to cars.
Benefits - It is light weight, highly corrosion-resistant, soft, and durable. Aluminium is also 100 percent recyclable.
A widely used metal in the manufacture of optical frames and sunglasses, stainless steel is an alloy of steel and chromium.
Benefits - Stainless steel is a lightweight metal, it is also corrosion-resistant and generally hypoallergenic.
A high-tech material consisting of extremely thin fibres, composed mostly of carbon atoms, that are twisted together in a crystal alignment that is incredibly strong. Other materials are added to form a composite.
Benefits - Carbon fibre is very lightweight, highly flexible, strong, and durable.
Nickel silver is a copper alloy with nickel and often zinc. The material is usually around 60% copper, 20% nickel, 5% magnesium, 10% zinc and 5% other.
Benefits - Nickel silver is very tough and has good elasticity. It tends to be cheaper than other metals used for optical frames or sunglasses.
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