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Sunglasses lens material

Aug 22, 2023

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As a wholesaler or seller of sunglasses, do you really know about sunglasses lenses? Do you know how to choose sunglasses lens when you wholesale sunglasses or custom your own brand sunglasses from a sunglasses factory?

Lens is a very important factor in determining the quality of a pair of sunglasses. The material of sunglasses lenses generally has the following categories:

1. Glass

 Glass, the main raw material is optical glass, which has the longest history and was used in the manufacture of Camera lens in the early days.

Advantages: hard material, good surface wear resistance, strong acid and alkali resistance, heat resistance, good light transmittance and high refractive index.

Disadvantages: The weight is relatively heavy, not suitable for long-term wearing, and it is easy to break, and it is easy to cause harm to the human body after being broken. At present, glass lenses are rarely used in the manufacture of sunglasses.

2. AC

AC, full name Acrylic Pmma, chemical name polymethyl methacrylate, abbreviation: PMMA, also known as acrylic, plexiglass, is a thermoplastic.

Advantages: light weight, suitable for long time wearing. Relatively stable to dilute acid, dilute alkali, inorganic salt solution, impact resistance, not fragile, easy to dye, simple manufacturing process, because of low material cost, AC lens is relatively cheap.

Disadvantages: heat resistance and wear resistance are worse than glass, and optical properties are unstable.

3. PC

PC, chemical name polycarbonate, a polymer material, is a thermoplastic. High optical performance, in line with American standard, European standard, Australian standard and other international standards.

Advantages: light weight, super impact resistance, after the material is thickened, it is commonly known as bulletproof glass. PC lens is currently recognized as a high-safety lens in the world, suitable for strenuous sports, mostly used in sports sunglasses, safety glasses and children’s glasses, military explosion-proof glasses are also commonly used PC lens.

Disadvantages: average scratch resistance, low fatigue resistance, easy deformation in high temperature environment affects optical quality. It is unstable to concentrated acid and alkali and most organic solvents, and PC lens price is more expensive than AC lens.

4. CR-39

CR-39, chemical name polypropylene diethylene glycol carbonate, referred to as ADC resin, is a thermosetting plastic.

Advantages: light weight, impact resistance and not fragile, easy to dye, acid, alkali and organic solvent resistance, suitable for acetate glasses frame.

Disadvantages: the wear resistance is relatively average, it needs to be coated with anti-wear film, and the price is higher.

5. TAC

TAC, chemical name cellulose triacetate, has stronger anti-glare function than other lenses.

Advantages: ultra-light, ultra-thin, can effectively relieve the pressure of the lens on the bridge of the nose, highly polarized material can effectively eliminate glare, make the vision softer and clearer, and TAC lenses are cost-effective.

TAC lens is the most commonly used lens in polarized sunglasses, and is widely used in the manufacture of lifestyle sunglasses, running sunglasses, driving sunglasses and floating sunglasses.

Disadvantages: average wear resistance, high water absorption, and surface characteristics are easily affected by the environment.

6. PA (Nylon)

PA (Nylon) , the main material is transparent polyamide, commonly known as memory nylon, many sports brand sunglasses and branded sunglasses are made of nylon.

Advantages: The most notable advantage is excellent stress crack resistance, suitable for drilling and locking screw spectacle frames, good toughness and not easy to crack. Has good chemical resistance, resistant to weak alkalis and most salts, suitable for acetate glasses frames. Under the same specifications, it is lighter than PC lens and CR-39 lens, and is more comfortable.

Disadvantages: Although the surface has been hardened, the scratch resistance of the surface is slightly worse than that of CR-39 lenses, which is equivalent to that of PC lenses. Moreover, the processing cost is high, the price of PA lens is several times that of PC lens and CR-39 lens, and the price has become the main obstacle to the widespread use of PA lens.

The above is the material classification of the most commonly used lenses in the manufacture of sunglasses, but we usually also classify them according to the transmittance of the sunglasses.

Transmittance, also known as “transmission coefficient”, refers to the ratio of the total amount of light entering the eye after passing through the lens to the total amount of light reaching the lens. The higher the value, the better the light transmission and the higher the clarity. The color of sunglasses from 1# to 4# is from light to dark in appearance, and the filter effect of the lens is also enhanced in turn. When selling 4# sunglasses, it must be clearly stated that they cannot be worn by driving.

Type Transmittance Applied scenarios
0# 80%<TV≤100% Cloudy
1# 43%<TV≤80% Light color,for partly cloudy.
2# 18%<TV≤43% Color lighter,for sunny days
3# 8%<TV≤18% For most scenes such as seaside mountain forest, driving, cycling, etc.
4# 3%<TV≤8% For skiing, mountain climbing, beach and other fields with strong sunlight, not suitable for driving.

There is another important part in the production of sunglasses: coating. 

Coating the sunglasses can not only improve the practicability and functionality of the sunglasses, but also make them more applicable in various usage situations. In addition, the coating can also make sunglasses more fashionable when matched with clothing.

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