3 November 2010

edge glow acrylic plastic

The edge of clear tinted plastic appears to glow in ambient lighting. The phenomenon, known as "edge glow" or "lit edge", is caused by light waves being refracted internally and transmitted out through the laser cut edge, rather than the surface. The effect is enhanced by fluorescent pigment.

Scored and etched lines on the surface of plastics cause the same effect - see glowing plastic patterns. This is utilised in signage to illuminate graphics whilst keeping the light source hidden.

Image of laser cut acrylic (poly methyl methacrylate).