Definition: Retroreflector

What is a retroreflector?

What is a retroreflector and what is the difference with a 'normal' reflector? Let us begin by explaining what a reflector is. A reflector does not give light itself, it only reflects the light. It is used in many different situations. A retroreflector is a particular type of reflector that you may come across in traffic. On several vehicles, such as trailers, the use of a retroreflector is even compulsory. The thing that makes the retroreflector so special compared to other reflectors is that it reflects the light in exactly the same direction. When you shine the light into a mirror, it will reflect the light in the opposite direction. A retroreflector ensures that the light is reflected in the same direction. That is also the reason why it is used in traffic, because it is very important there.

Different forms

There are many ways to reflect light in the same direction. Some are more complicated than others but all have the same purpose. Instead of reflecting from the angle of incidence, to make the light turn around. One of these ways can be found, for example, in the reflector of a bicycle. This consists of a reflector with many small half cubes. Depending on the angle of incidence, the light in the half cube reflects at once or via an additional reflection back to the light source.

Retroreflectors at TRALERT®

In traffic, the use of a retroreflector is very important because road signs or other vehicles must be clearly visible. It is even mandatory on some vehicles. That is why TRALERT® also has various retroreflectors in its product range reflectors. The colours used for vehicles are white, amber and red. White for the front of the vehicle, amber for the sides and red for the rear. So it does not matter from which angle you illuminate the reflectors. The light will always be reflected in your direction.

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