Sunglasses are the ultimate accessory. They are both fashionable and functional. Sunglasses look impressive on men and women alike. However, they perform an essential purpose as well. Sunglasses keep our eyes safe against the harmful UV (ultra-violet) rays of the sun. Some sunglasses are specifically designed to protect the eyes against the damage caused by blue light, which is emitted by electronic devices.
Selecting the perfect pair of sunglasses, therefore, involves not only looking at how well a frame fits the face and whether it complements the individual's features or not but also how much protection the actual glass offers. Sunglasses must have glasses which will block the harmful rays 100%. If the protection is not complete, then the sunglasses are nothing more than a fashion statement.
In fact, lenses that do not give your eyes the proper protection are detrimental to the eyes. They basically do more harm than good. In this article, we will shed light on another essential aspect of sunglasses. Aside from lenses, the other component of sunglasses are the frames.
Why wear sunglasses?
You might think sunglasses are just a cool fashion statement or a way to look mysterious and hide the dark circles beneath the eyes. While sunglasses do perform these functions, these are only secondary ones.
The main purpose of sunglasses is to offer protection against the sun. Our eyes are sensitive to too much light. Just like the harmful UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage, they can adversely affect the eyes. Good sunglasses are supposed to cancel out these harmful rays before they enter the eyes and cause damage.
Frames come in several different materials. The main ones being as follows:
Plastic is commonly used as a material for making frames for sunglasses. Plastic is lightweight and very cost effective. There are many different plastics, but the ones used for making sunglasses are mainly two types; the first one being Zylonite (Zyl), and the second one being polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is generally used for sports sunglasses specifically.
Metal is another popular material. It is durable and sturdy, and a lot of high-end sunglasses have a metal frame. There are a lot of different metals that are used, some of the common ones are; titanium, beryllium, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Why is the quality of the frame important?
Making sure that the lenses of the sunglasses are top quality and offer full protection seems obvious enough. But the frames of the sunglasses are also quite important as well. The quality and material are essential when selecting frames for sunglasses.
The quality of the frame will determine the overall quality of a pair of sunglasses. If a pair has expensive lenses but the frame is of poor quality than the overall look of the pair will be affected.
Related to quality is the durability of a pair of sunglasses. A good quality pair will be long-lasting and durable. This is a key requirement in the case of sunglasses used especially for sporting activities, like skiing and cycling.
A right frame is the one that is suitable to the occasion the sunglasses are being used for. Some are more suited for sporting activities, others for daily use.
One ground-breaking material used for frames in sunglasses is aluminium-magnesium. To see exactly why this is a superior material let’s examine what it is in the first place.
Aluminum-magnesium is a lightweight alloy. It combines the properties of both aluminum and magnesium. Aluminum is extremely lightweight and does not corrode. It is also very flexible. Magnesium, on the other hand, is also tremendously lightweight, but it is very strong. Being lightweight, yet strong, make it perfect for use in the aircraft and automotive industries.
The two metals when combined creates an alloy which is very lightweight yet sturdy at the same time. It is also non-corrosive and promises to be extremely long lasting.
One application of aluminum-magnesium alloy has been in making the frame for glasses in general and sunglasses in particular. Below are all the factors that make it the perfect material for use in making frames.
Use of aluminum-magnesium alloy in frames:
There are a number of reasons which make aluminum-magnesium a material suitable for making frames for sunglasses. Listed below are all the features that make it an excellent choice as far as frames are concerned:
While plastic is relatively cheaper, the aluminum-magnesium alloy happens to be extremely lightweight. Plastic is bulky which make it inconvenient for the wearer due to the heavyweight it puts on the bridge of their nose and the ears.
Other metals can also be used, but the aluminum-magnesium alloy the least heavy option. It also enables the design to look sleeker and daintier. This means that the alloy is perfect for creating very elegant and sophisticated sunglasses. The same look cannot be achieved using a plastic frame which will never look as delicate as a metal frame. The weightlessness of the alloy is a huge plus especially when the users wear the sunglasses for longer periods of time. A heavier frame becomes very uncomfortable after a short period of time. An aluminum-magnesium frame, on the other hand, is weightless and continues to remain comfortable throughout the day.
The aluminum-magnesium material has a huge advantage over other metals, in that it is resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is a metal that is corrosion resistant, so when it is mixed with magnesium to create an alloy, the non-corrosive property is also transferred onto the alloy.
This is a huge plus point. While corrosion is not an issue with plastics, it is a major problem when it comes to metals. Already as sunglasses go through a lot of wear and tear, it adds to the possibility of corrosion and the bad situation gets worse. Sunglasses are already quite an investment, so it is better to spend money on one that you will know will last you a couple of years.
Aside from that as sunglasses are used outdoors where they are exposed to the elements; air and water, both of which speed up corrosion. Going to the beach should not involve you worrying about that the paint on your branded sunglasses will chip away and the metal frame will start to corrode.
In the same way as corrosion, sweat resistance is an important factor. Athletes and people generally sweat when they work out. Sweat from the forehead can come in contact with the frame of the sunglasses. Sweat is essentially saline water which significantly increases corrosion. So, for people who work out, specifically, the aluminum-magnesium frame is the only perfect choice since it means that the frame will not start corroding after some time.
Plastic is not a good option as well because it is bulky and also because it slips and slides when wet. Which means when sweat comes into contact with the plastic it will make the already heavy plastic move about even more and this can be very uncomfortable and irritating for the wearer.
One would think that having aluminum in it the aluminum-magnesium alloy material would be soft. This is far from the truth. Aluminium-magnesium is extremely strong and resistant to extrusion. Meaning the metal can be shaped into complex shapes. The high strength is due to the magnesium present.
This feature means that frames of sunglasses made out of aluminum-magnesium are very sturdy and last long. It is a perfect option for people who like to through their sunglasses in their bags or wear them quite frequently. The high-strength alloy material ensures that the shape of the frame is not affected no matter how much force is applied. Dropping the sunglasses or having something dropped on them is also not an issue since the material is strong enough to withstand all of that.
This also justifies the slightly higher price of the aluminum-magnesium frame over a plastic one. Plastic is not as durable. Plastic can break if force is applied to it. So, you might think you are getting a bargain by purchasing the sunglasses having a plastic frame, but that really isn't beneficial as after little usage the sunglasses break and need replacement. The aluminum-magnesium frame, however, will last many years without even a change in the shape of the frame.
Extrusion or the process of squeezing out the metal through different shapes is also possible. Being strong enough, the aluminum-magnesium does not break when passed through molds and can be shaped into complex forms without the fear of breaking.
High wear resistance:
The aluminum-magnesium material is also wear resistant. Both aluminum and magnesium have a high wear resistance. Therefore, the material is not affected by abrasions and is scratch resistant. This property of the material makes it specifically useful for creating sunglasses for athletes whose overall gear goes through a lot of wear and tear. Rigorous physical activity and the occasional falls result in the eyewear getting damaged. Frames made from aluminum-magnesium, however, do not get damaged so easily.
Overall, they look high-end and deliver the same in terms of quality. This again makes the price you pay for the frames justifiable since they are so long-lasting and able to withstand rough conditions. You can rest assure that the frame of your sunglasses will remain scratch free and impeccable for a long time when you know it is made of aluminum-magnesium.
Safety and environmental protection:
Both metals in the alloy are extremely safe and environmentally friendly. They are non-toxic and can be recycled. Same cannot be said for plastics. Some plastics may be toxic since plastics vary widely in their quality. Critically, though, plastic is not biodegradable. Sure, you can reuse plastic, but the process creates further pollution, and plastic simple does not decompose.
With sunglasses having aluminum-magnesium frames you can be sure to enjoy the glasses without feeling guilty about the environment. These glasses will not have a negative environmental impact whatsoever.
As a material for frames in sunglasses, aluminum-magnesium is a great option. It is a bit pricier then plastic, but the advantages it offers make up for the higher cost.
The alloy is exceptionally lightweight, corrosion resistant, sweat proof, high strength, wear resistant, and environmentally safe. All these qualities are hardly found in other material used for making frames.
Ultimately, the benefits add up and more than justify the higher cost of the material. In fact, sunglasses made of aluminum-magnesium may actually prove to be cheaper in the long run. Thy last much longer and you will not find the need to have them replaced frequently, as is the case with most plastic framed ones. The frames made of aluminum-magnesium not only make a style statement but also are of high quality. In short, it's a win-win situation!
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