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Saturday / June 15.
HomemifashionFlexible Eyewear Any Tougher and They’d Rust

Flexible Eyewear Any Tougher and They’d Rust

Frames made out of memory metals and / or plastics such as blended nylon are unique to other types of eyewear in that they’re virtually indestructible. They can be bumped, dropped, slept in and they’ll remain intact. Most amazing of all is that little fingers can twist them to within an inch of their life and they won’t snap but instead snap back into shape. Say hello to childproof glasses!

Memory metals are used to create frames promoted as ‘flexible eyewear’ as well as lightweight, rimless and bendable frames which are essentially so pliable that they are break proof.

Flexible eyewear is the contortionist of spectacles: it can be twisted and bent in all sorts of masochistic ways and will then return to its original shape as though nothing unusual has happened.

For the customer who doesn’t want to be precious with their glasses, finding the perfect pair of frames can be a difficult task. In fact, for prescription optics wearers, purchasing the right pair is even more important than any other fashion item in their wardrobe as it is the one they wear most.

Flexible eyewear is the contortionist of spectacles: it can be twisted and bent in all sorts of masochistic ways and will then return to its original shape as though nothing unusual has happened.

Inform your customer that frames made out of memory metal are so robust they can be twisted, crushed and otherwise mishandled without breaking… Good for people who are prone to sitting on, dropping or treating their glasses less-than-kindly! Further, instead of requiring a trip to the optometrist every time the frames are in need of an adjustment, a simple manipulation of the flexible material does the job.

But how can an inanimate object like metal have a “memory”? Memory metal is a lightweight and durable metal that ‘remembers’ its original, cold, forged shape. It will return to that shape after being deformed by applying heat. The composition of this tends to be an ‘alloy’ of different types of metal which are developed by different factories in order to gain additional features unavailable from existing metals.

Memory metal is sometimes also known as shape memory alloy (SMA), smart metal, memory alloy, smart alloy and mivision‘s personal favourite… ‘muscle wire’.

There are three types of memory metals: copper-zinc-aluminium-nickel; copper-aluminium-nickel and a nickel-titanium alloy. The latter used in the main by the flexible eyewear designers although most companies tend to create their own unique version so that they can own the proprietary rights.

Titanium is used in eyewear memory metal alloys as it is extremely lightweight, flexible and won’t rust. Titanium is also strong which means it can be made very thin. Titanium is 100 per cent hypo-allergenic, however depending on what type of metal the titanium is fused with, it may cause allergic reactions in some people unless otherwise stated. The one downside of titanium use is that it is very difficult to colour, hence eyewear manufacturers will often leave flexible eyewear plain and instead use coloured plastic sides or use a flexible coloured coating.

Flexible eyewear can also be made out of plastic – high grade nylon which is malleable, strong and lightweight. Where once plastic was hard and easy to break now plastics are manufactured from a variety of materials which makes them a great material for eyewear designers to use. Blended nylon frames are also popular as they are even more durable and lightweight.

Memory plastic or shape memory alloys can be stretched or scrunched without breaking, however, although not as resilient as memory metals because plastic can weaken when exposed to sun and heat, it remains a very popular flexible frame material, particularly as it gives more choice for a variety of colours and shapes.