Without Mirror Glass, society will have a rather significant amount of disheveled looking people, there will be plenty more road accidents and neither telescopes nor disco balls would exist. Mirrors play an integral part of our daily lives. But what exactly does a mirror consist of?
Most mirrors are manufactured when a reflective coating is applied to an appropriate substrate, which is mostly glass. Glass is ideal as it is transparent, rigid and can take on a smooth surface. There are various types of mirrors and each is produced in a different manner and with different materials.
Every day mirror glass, or silver glass mirrors are manufactured when the back of a glass sheet is coated with a silver and copper film as well as two or more layers of waterproof paint- ensuring protection from chemicals and moisture. These mirrors provide accurate reflections and have a variety of uses and benefits, from assisting with driving to making a room appear more spacious to adding aesthetic value.
Aluminium mirrors consist of glass which receives vacuum coating. Vacuum coating takes place when aluminium powder is evaporated or ‘splashed’ onto the glass in a vacuum chamber before receiving layers of waterproof protective paint. These mirrors have the advantage over silver mirrors in that they are more environmentally friendly as no copper or lead is used. Aluminium mirrors are ideal to use for scientific instruments.
Safety glass mirrors are produced when a protective film is applied to the back of a silver glass mirror. In the case of the glass being broken, the film will prevent injuries. This makes it ideal to use for furniture, doors and in public areas.
For decorative purposes, silkscreen printed glass mirrors can also be considered. These mirrors are produced by using inorganic colour ink to print a pattern through a special screen onto the glass. The colourant is melted into the glass surface in a hot furnace. Silkscreen printed mirrors are durable and often used for decorative mirrors, table tops, microwave doors and chopping boards.