Now that you’re able to impress your friends with your extensive sunglasses knowledge – namely on their history, how they’re made, and a bunch of random facts – here’s a bit of the science behind how they work. This’ll just be brief here, but watch out for future posts that delve a bit deeper into topics like polarization and tinting for wood sunglasses for men and women.
The basic answer for any added protection technology is going to be: coating. Coatings, or layers of materials, are added to the lenses to protect against different things. For UV protection, it’s important that this coating covers both the front and the back of the lenses, as the sun’s rays can also shine through the back, exposing your eyes to danger.
The layer of UV protection is going to consist of a kind of silicon resin – that is, glass-like silica particles that are going to cover the lenses entirely – this also helps protect against things like scratches, too.
Lens tinting is probably one of the coolest parts of the science behind sunglasses. Certain tints definitely stand out, such as the ice blue lenses of the Beechwood Polarized Wood Sunglasses, or the smoked color of the Dark Walnut Wood Sunglasses lenses.
What you may not have known is that differences in tint is more than just a style factor, as different colors highlight different things about your environment. The reason for this is that the color of the lenses tint indicates which part of the light spectrum the lenses will absorb. Light is funny in the way it works – think of it in the same way we see the sky as blue, but it really isn’t. More on that in a future post – for now we’ll just focus on how these tints come about.
Now, when applying tints to lenses, manufacturers could just add the color directly to the lenses themselves, but what might be the problem with this? Mostly the fact that the color distribution would be extremely uneven, and this is the type of funky look you’re probably not going for. Instead, dyes are added to the molten raw material and mixed all up. Then they’re made into a layer. This polycarbonate layer is applied to the lenses themselves, giving an even hue all around.
There’s a lot that can be said about polarization, too, which is why I’m saving most of this discussion for a future post. But we’ll start here with a brief discussion of what polarization is and how it works in your sunglasses.
Basically, light is made up of light waves which are said to radiate and vibrate in all directions. When these vibrations are gathered together into at least one plane of direction, we say that light is polarized. This polarization is something that can happen naturally or artificially – water is a great example of natural polarization, as water provides a natural “filter” that light can sometimes not get through.
When you’re looking at a lake, and you see the glare, this glare is a result of natural polarization. The light can’t pass through the water’s “filter,” which is why you can’t see below the lake’s surface, even if the day is super bright and the water rather clear. Unfortunately, this glare off the water isn’t good for your eyes, which is why you need artificial polarization from your sunglasses.
To get this artificial polarization, a filter is applied to the lenses. This filter is made of a film of chemicals that will block out horizontally polarized light. Since most of the glare we see in our lives, such as that from lakes, comes from surfaces that are horizontal, sunglasses are going to block out the horizontally polarized light and allow only the vertically polarized light in. If you don’t believe me, just go to somewhere there’s a glare from a horizontal surface, such as a car or a lake, (make sure your sunglasses are on!) and tilt your head to the side. The more you tilt your head, the more glare you should begin to see! Just don’t keep your head tilted for long.
Adding the Final Touches
Not all companies make wood sunglasses alike, but the ones who want to add a little extra protection will include more layers for consumers’ benefit. To help repel things like dust or dirt, they may use anti-static technology or anti-particulate layers to resist dirt before it can even get a chance to cling to your sunglasses. Other technology can resist smudges or repel oil and water. Sunglasses have advanced a lot since they came around back with Sam Foster, and scientists are working all the time to find new improvements and cool innovations. That only leaves us to wonder what new advances wood sunglasses for men and women will see next!