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Polycarbonate film for light control.

"Microlouvre" technology is used to produce light control film that contains tiny blinders set at precise angles to regulate the direction of the light being emitted. The film is composed of louvres so small they are imperceptible to the human eye.

The manufacturer of the microlouvre technology, 3M, of St. Paul, Minn., encapsulates the film in Makrofol DE-1-1 polycarbonate film from the Polymers Division of Miles Inc. The resulting flat and rigid three-layer laminate can then be printed and die cut for incorporation into displays or to provide privacy in screens for bank automatic teller machines (ATMs).

The polycarbonate film is also being used to minimize reflections in automobile windshields that can be caused by dashboard displays and buttons. Automotive designers are creating more ergonomic and streamlined dashboards. As windshields slope back toward the driver at an acute angle, in order to provide better aerodynamics, the dashboard has to be shortened from front to back. As a result, there is less of an overhang above the instruments, and the lighted displays can create distracting reflections in the windshield.

Laminated light control film allows for smaller, more streamlined dashboards without a great deal of hooding needed to block reflections. With its louvres positioned to run horizontally, the film prevents the light emitted from the back-lit displays from reflecting up into the windshield. At the same time, electronic messages or buttons can be seen clearly.

The unfilled "glass-clear" polycarbonate film, which features smooth, glossy surfaces on both front and back, offers light transmittance up to 89%, depending on the gage and texture of the film. Its light transmission increases from 275 nm, reaching its maximum of 89% to 90% at 300 nm. Light transmission remains constant until approximately 1100 nm, where it drops to about 75% in the infrared range.

The Makrofol film has a service temperature of up to 270|degrees~F and can withstand temperatures up to 284|degrees~F for short periods. Polymers Marketing Communications Dept., Miles Inc., Mobay Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15205-9741; (412) 777-2000; Fax (412) 777-4780. Circle 151.
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Title Annotation:New Materials
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:May 1, 1993
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