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Reflective material with broad viewing angle


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Hi There,


Im making some theatre decor and want to implement some light reflecting sufaces. I did some research and I've bought some traffic reflective sheeting, something like this.


Sadly im not very impressed with the viewing angle. If I take a picture with flash the material works like a dream but if the viewing angle of the light source and the viewer is above approximately 10 degrees the reflectiveness is far below expectations. It surprises me as the specs said it would work up till 45 degrees and it was very very expensive.


Has anybody worked with such materials and can point me to a product that has a broad reflection angle?





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You cannae change the laws of physics!


This type of material works by reflecting light directly back at the lightsource.

This makes it very bright to somebody close to the lightsource(s) - eg a driver sat behind her headlights, or a camera lens next to the flash.

However, it has little effect (it's actually dimmer) to anybody away from the lightsource(s)


See this Wikipedia p[age for a diagram of how this type of reflective surface works:



However, if the lightsource is a large angle away from your eyes (eg the ceiling lights) you will see nothing because the light is being reflected back at those lights and away from your eyes.


The specification means that lightsource can be up to 45 deg from "straight on" at the reflective material.

The light and the observer still need to be close to each other.

If you hold a torch near to your eyes and shine it on the material you'll see the bright glow until the torch is >45 degrees from the plane of the material.


This is not what you want to hear, but what you're asking for simply does not exist.


Reflective material simply cannot make it appear to "glow" for many observers positioned at multiple angles away from the source(s) of light.


If you want a "glow", then you need to use a different approach and make the surface actively glow.

For example, you could try UV paint with a bright UV source, LED strip attached to the surface, EL wire, tape or sheet.


LED or EL are probably your best options, depending on the shape of the effect required.

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