The benefits of Glass Broadcast Beads

Shooting lines is a common application procedure for commercial painting contractors.  Sometimes those lines are installed in a warehouse facility.  And other times, they are installed in parking lots.  But in some situations, those lines need to be highly visible.  And in those instances, reflective glass beads will greatly improve their visibility.

And there are 2 common locations that receive these glass beads: airport runways, or major road ways.

Reflective Traffic Beads for Roadways

All major roadways require a TTP-1325 Type 1 glass bead standard.  These glass beads are designed to reflect the light emitted from vehicle headlights, presenting roadway markings with greater clarity.

These beads have an easy application.  Unlike many aggregates that get mixed with the paint, glass beads can be broadcasted onto the painted lines.  This makes application fairly simple.  The applicator just needs to make sure he is applying the glass beads when the paint is wet, and not after it’s cured.

And not only is the application simple, but the beads can be applied to a wide variety of paints.  Water-based, solvent-based, 2 component epoxy, MMA, polyurethane, and polyurea paints can all accept glass beads for increased reflectivity.  But every applicator will need to have a firm understanding of the product before they begin the application.   Each product has a different cure rate, and once that paint is cured, it’ll be too late to broadcast new beads into the paint.

Reflective Traffic Beads for Airport Runways

It’s easy to assume that all traffic beads are the same.  However, airport traffic beads require more brightness and reflectivity.  And to ensure those beads offer those increased values, these beads need to meet the FAA Type 3 specifications.

1 major character difference is that airport runway beads have a larger diameter.  This increased diameter increases the range that the light can be reflected.  And not only are they larger, but they are engineered from barium titanate glass.  This glass offers a greater clarity than glass made from sand.  And that clarity also contributes to the increased reflectivity needed by runways.

And these standards are common, as they are created by the FAA.  So one company won’t create better beads than another company.

And similar to roadway glass beads, these beads can be applied by hand.  The applicator will want to broadcast about 6 lbs of beads per gallon of paint.

But knowing how many linear feet per gallon of paint is a challenge.  And that depends on a few factors, such as what type of paint is being applied.  Airport glass beads can be applied to epoxy, water-based paint, alkyd-based paint, polyurea, and polyurethane paints.

But each paint comes with a different viscosity, which determines the spread rate per paint.  So before you order your glass beads, it’s important that the estimator considers the coverage rate for the material.

Overall, glass beads can increase the visibility on roads and runways.  And this increased visibility increases the overall safety for commuters and travelers, which is always a benefit.