What are sunglass frames made of?
25th November 2020
We have in the past provided a lot information about sunglass lenses but not so much about frames – what they are made of.
Broadly, sunglass frames are either made from plastic or metal. Generally, sports frames use one of the plastics and leisure styles use both metal and plastic. There are several types of plastic frame materials, the two most common being zylonite (zyl) also known as celluloid. It’s an easy material for factories to work with, not expensive and can come in a huge range of colours. The most popular frame material used for sports frames is polycarbonate. The polycarbonate used to make frames is different to that used for lenses, the latter being a much higher grade “pure form” to create optical quality lenses. Polycarbonate for frames is favoured because it’s lightweight but it can be prone to fracture in extreme weather (heat or cold). A lot of sports eyewear brands are now using a material called Grilamid TR90, a type of nylon because it’s very light but very strong – almost unbreakable.
For metal frames most well-known brands use high-strength, lightweight metal materials to make their frames choosing either nickel, stainless steel, aluminium or titanium, the latter a premium grade metal that’s ultra-light but incredibly strong. Most brands play safe and use nickel-free metals as sensitive skin can react to nickel.