Hi-vis Workwear - How does it work

How does High-Visibility clothing work

Published 05/05/2012

High-visibility (also hi-vis or hi-viz) clothing uses two specific material properties 

  • Fluorescence
    Usually used as the major material in the fabrication of the garment.
    This uses the property of a material where it absorbs light at one wavelength, but then reflects back light from the visual spectrum.
    See Fluorescence

  • Reflectivity or more increasingly Retroreflectivity
    Usually added to the clothing as bands of tape. The tape is added to give visual clues that garment is being worn buy a person by placing them on the body, arms and legs. The quantity and placement of these bands can affect how quickly the brain realises that this is a person, especially if they are not moving.
    See Reflectivity

Generally, fluorescent materials work to increase daytime visibility (including dusk & dawn), whilst reflective materials are primarily used to increase night time visibility.

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