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The main materials used to make frames

In eyewear manufacturing, there are three main families of materials used to make frames: Organic or plastic materials, natural materials, and metals.

Materiaux organiques ou plastiques

1- Organic or plastic materials

  • Cellulose acetate: this is the most common material.
  • Polyamide
  • Polycarbonate
  • Elastomers and rubber (especially for parts that come into contact with the skin).
  • Various more exotic polymers can also be used (epoxy, polyurethane, etc.)

Composite materials (carbon, Kevlar, epoxy resin) are not frequently used due to their complexity and the difficulty in obtaining eye-catching parts in small sizes.


Materiaux naturels

2- Natural materials

  • Wood: several types of exotic wood are used and are often varnished in order to maintain the material's appearance.
  • Horn
  • Tortoise shell
  • Other products such as animal hides (shark, crocodile, etc.) are also used.



Les metaux

3- Metals

  • Stainless steel
  • Titanium and its alloys
  • Aluminium alloys
  • Copper/nickel alloys: Nickel-silver, Monel
  • Bronze
  • Others are used more rarely: magnesium alloys, shape-memory alloys (Nickel-Titanium or Copper-Aluminium-Beryllium)

Surface coatings used on frames

There are various types of surface coatings. However, they can be grouped into two main families: galvanic and organic treatments.

1- Galvanic treatments

These are solutions containing precious metals (gold, palladium, etc.) or more common metals (chrome, ruthenium, bronze, nickel, etc.) that leave a thin electrolytic deposit of these metals on metal frames.

2- Organic treatments

These are paints, epoxy or polyurethane veneers, transparent or opaque coatings, colourless coatings or shades that require firing after spraying onto the metal frames or, more rarely, plastic frames.

Other techniques can be used, albeit not as frequently:

  • Physical vapour deposition of ceramic coatings.
  • Metallization of plastic materials
  • Sublimation (transfer of ink into a coat of varnish previously deposited on the frames).


More informations : ALUTEC

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