How do Reflective Glass Beads Work?

Traffic safety products have reached an advanced state of construction throughout the country.  Roads, signs, lines, paint and other elements of the road appear simple enough; however, advanced technological processes allow for roads to be built better and safer than ever before.  Reflective glass beads are a common application in roadway safety devices and the actual construction of roads. 


Road Studs and Reflectors

Glass is one of the most highly refractive materials, and can be molded into a variety of shapes depending on the intended application.  Devices used in road safety environments need to refract light so that they can be seen by drivers more easily.  Road studs, for example, are used to mark dangerous areas where there are steep drop-offs, no shoulders, or other hazards that drivers should be warned of.  Glass can be applied to these devices to refract light much more intensely than most reflective paints or laminate materials.  Many states across the country have also made reflective glass beads a standard design feature of almost every roadway sign.  In certain states, such as Ohio, these beads line every character of every street sign lining interstate roads. 



Glass granules and beads have revolutionized the road safety industry in unique ways.  Not only do the beads have obvious applications on road signs, granules can be mixed with asphalt to create a greater visibility effect at night.  Beads applied to signs are far more durable to elements such as extreme changes in temperature and direct sunlight.  A beaded, domed shape refracts light far more than flat refractive surfaces especially in nighttime driving scenarios.  Glass can also be manufactured in a variety of colors for different sign applications.  They can also be made in traditional clear versions to enhance the established color of a sign that has already been erected. 


Innovative technological processes have allowed companies to manufacture some of the most highly visible roadway products in history.  Reflective glass beads and other glass products are playing an integral role in improving driver safety across America’s roadways.  They are used in signage as well as road construction materials and help increase visibility at night.