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Publication numberUS20040216406 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/492,829
PCT numberPCT/US2002/034912
Publication date4 Nov 2004
Filing date31 Oct 2002
Priority date31 Oct 2001
Publication number10492829, 492829, PCT/2002/34912, PCT/US/2/034912, PCT/US/2/34912, PCT/US/2002/034912, PCT/US/2002/34912, PCT/US2/034912, PCT/US2/34912, PCT/US2002/034912, PCT/US2002/34912, PCT/US2002034912, PCT/US200234912, PCT/US2034912, PCT/US234912, US 2004/0216406 A1, US 2004/216406 A1, US 20040216406 A1, US 20040216406A1, US 2004216406 A1, US 2004216406A1, US-A1-20040216406, US-A1-2004216406, US2004/0216406A1, US2004/216406A1, US20040216406 A1, US20040216406A1, US2004216406 A1, US2004216406A1
InventorsKen Egashira
Original AssigneeKen Egashira
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Decorative structure
US 20040216406 A1
Abstract
A decorative structure that has a remarkably excellent three-dimensional effect, thus having an excellent design, and can be easily manufactured. The decorative structure comprises a underlayer member having a mirror-like appearance surface; and a decorative film disposed apart from the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member, wherein: the decorative film is provided with at least one appearance-modifying layer and has a predetermined pattern originated from a combination of light-permeating portions and light-shielding portions; an opening percentage is 10 to 99%; and the ratio (d/p) of a distance (d) between the decorative film and the mirror-like appearance surface to the pitch (p) of the light-permeating portions and the light-shielding portions in the decorative film is at least 1/40.
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Claims(27)
1. A decorative structure comprising:
a underlayer member having a mirror-like appearance surface; and
a decorative film disposed apart from the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member,
wherein the decorative film is provided with at least one appearance-modifying layer and has a predetermined pattern originated from a combination of light-permeating portions and light-shielding portions; an opening percentage defined by an area ratio of the light-permeating portions to the light-shielding portions is 10 to 99%; and the ratio (d/p) of a distance (d) between the decorative film and the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member to the pitch (p) of the light-permeating portions and the light-shielding portions in the decorative film is at least 1/40.
2. The decorative structure of claim 1, wherein the decorative film is a multilayered film comprising at least two appearance-modifying layers having the same or different color tones.
3. The decorative structure of claim 1, wherein the appearance-modifying layer of the decorative film comprises at least a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member; a colored layer having an optional color tone; or a combination thereof.
4. The decorative structure of claim 1, wherein the pattern of the decorative film consists of stripes, round holes, dots, square holes, grid-like holes, checkers, or a combination thereof.
5. The decorative structure of claim 1, wherein there is space between the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member and the decorative film.
6. The decorative structure of claim 1, wherein there is an intermediate member made of light-transmittive material sandwiched between the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member and the decorative film.
7. The decorative structure of claim 6, wherein the light-transmittive material is a resinous material, a glass material, or a composite thereof.
8. The decorative structure of claim 6, wherein the intermediate member also acts as the underlayer member.
9. The decorative structure of claim 1, wherein the decorative structure is a lamp structure provided with a light source, a housing capable of reflecting the light from the light source at the mirror-like appearance surface of the inner wall thereof, a light-emitting opening, and a lamp cover made of light-transmittive resin which covers the light-emitting opening; and the decorative film is adhered to the lamp cover.
10. The decorative structure of claim 9, wherein the decorative film comprises at least a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the inner wall of said housing; or a colored layer having an optional color tone.
11. The decorative structure of claim 10, wherein said decorative film comprises said metallic coating and said colored layer; and said decorative film is adhered to the inner face of said lamp cover in such a manner that said metallic coating is positioned nearer to said lamp cover than said colored layer.
12. The decorative structure of claim 10, wherein said decorative film comprises said metallic coating and said colored layer; and said decorative film is adhered to the outer face of said lamp cover in such a manner that said metallic coating is positioned farther from said lamp cover than said colored layer.
13. The decorative structure of claim 10, wherein said decorative film is a multilayered decorative film comprising at least two colored layers having the same or different color tones.
14. The decorative structure of claim 9, wherein said decorative film is adhered to a non-light-emitting area of said lamp cover, which does not substantially concern the emission of the light from said light source.
15. The decorative structure of claims 14, wherein the non-light-emitting area of said lamp cover is an area around said light-emitting opening.
16. The decorative structure of claim 9, wherein said decorative film further comprises an adhesive layer made of acrylic adhesive.
17. The decorative structure of claim 9, wherein said decorative film further comprises a clear layer as the outermost layer thereof when said decorative film is adhered to the outer face of said lamp cover.
18. The decorative structure of claim 9, which is a vehicular lamp structure.
19. The decorative structure of claim 1, which is a decorative article, one member of which is constituted by said decorative film, wherein there is an intermediate member made of light-transmittive material inserted between said mirror-like appearance surface of said underlayer member and said decorative film.
20. The decorative structure of claim 19, wherein said light-transmittive material is a resinous material, a glass material, or a composite thereof.
21. The decorative structure of claim 19, wherein said intermediate member also acts as said underlayer member.
22. The decorative structure of claim 19, wherein said decorative film comprises at least a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the mirror-like appearance surface of said underlayer member; or a colored layer having an optional color tone.
23. The decorative structure of claim 22, wherein said decorative film comprises said metallic coating and said colored layer; and said decorative film is adhered to the outer face of said intermediate member in such a manner that said metallic coating is disposed farther from the mirror-like appearance surface of said underlayer member than said colored layer.
24. The decorative structure of claim 22, wherein said decorative film comprises at least two colored layers having the same or different color tones.
25. The decorative structure of claim 19, wherein said decorative film further comprises an adhesive layer made of acrylic adhesive.
26. The decorative structure of claim 19, wherein said decorative film further comprises a clear layer as the outermost layer thereof.
27. The decorative structure of claim 19, which is a decorative article such as a finisher, garnish, emblem, or braid.
Description
DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0025]FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view schematically showing one embodiment of a decorative structure according to the present invention. The decorative structure 20 comprises a underlayer member 1 having a mirror-like appearance surface 1 a, and a decorative film 10 disposed with a distance d from the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member 1.

[0026] In this decorative structure 20, the decorative film 10 is provided with at least one appearance-modifying layer as described in detail below. In addition, the decorative film 10 has a predetermined pattern originated from a combination of light-permeating portions 10B and light-shielding portions 10A, and an opening percentage which is a ratio of the whole area of the decorative film to the area of the light-permeating portions, is 10 to 99%. Furthermore, the ratio (d/p) of a distance (d) between the decorative film 10 and the mirror-like appearance surface 1 a of the underlayer member 1 to the pitch (p) of the light-permeating portions 10B and the light-shielding portions 10A in the decorative film is at least 1/40.

[0027] In a decorative structure according to the present invention, the decorative film may be constituted in various forms, but is preferably constituted as a multilayered film comprising at least two appearance-modifying layers having the same or different color tones. Further, the appearance-modifying layer significantly contributes to an advantage of the present invention such as the improvement of three-dimensional effect, but may be used as a single layer provided that a satisfactory advantage can be obtained.

[0028] The appearance-modifying layer may comprises various layers, but preferably comprises at least: a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member which is used in combination with the decorative film; a colored layer having an optional color tone; or a combination thereof.

[0029] The appearance-modifying layer may be used as a single layer, but when a plurality of appearance-modifying layers are used in combination, the form of the combination may be changed optionally. In particular, a metallic coating and a colored layer are preferable used in combination. Furthermore, “layer” in this description is used in a broad sense, and means a paint-film, a coating, a thin-film, or the like formed by finishing, printing, evaporating, coating, or the like, or means a film, a sheet, or the like adhered with adhesive.

[0030] A decorative film used in the present invention has light-permeating portions and light-shielding portions in combination, thus having an optional pattern originated from them. An appropriate pattern is formed with stripes, round holes, dots, square holes, grid-like holes, checkers, or a combination thereof.

[0031] In the decorative structure 20 of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 2, there may be space (air) but no component between the mirror-like appearance surface 1 a of the underlayer member 1 and the decorative film 10. Such constitution is useful for, for example, a lamp structure or the like. Such decorative structure is particularly suitable for a vehicular lamp structure, or a lamp structure used in other technical fields.

[0032] The lamp structure is provided with a light source, a housing capable of reflecting the light from the light source at the mirror-like appearance surface of the inner wall thereof, a light-emitting opening, and a lamp cover made of light-transmittive resin which covers the light-emitting opening. In such lamp structure, a decorative film is adhered to the lamp cover.

[0033] In the lamp structure, the decorative film preferably comprises at least a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the inner wall of the housing, or a colored layer having an optional color tone.

[0034] For example, the decorative film preferably comprises a metallic coating and a colored layer, and is adhered to the inner face of the lamp cover in such a manner that the metallic coating is positioned nearer to the lamp cover than the colored layer.

[0035] Alternatively, the decorative film preferably comprises a metallic coating and a colored layer, and is adhered to the outer face of the lamp cover in such a manner that the metallic coating is positioned farther from the lamp cover than the colored layer.

[0036] Furthermore, the decorative film is preferably a multilayered decorative film comprising at least two colored layers having the same or different color tones.

[0037] Furthermore, the decorative film is preferably adhered to a non-light-emitting area of the lamp cover which does not substantially concern the emission of the light from the light source. The non-light-emitting area of the lamp cover is preferably an area around the light-emitting opening.

[0038] Furthermore, the decorative film preferably further comprises an adhesive layer made of acrylic adhesive. The decorative film preferably further comprises a clear layer as the outermost layer thereof when the decorative film is adhered to the outer face of the lamp cover.

[0039] Otherwise, in the decorative structure 20 of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 3, there may be an intermediate member 5 made of light-transmittive material inserted between the mirror-like appearance surface 1 a of the underlayer member 1 and the decorative film 10. Such constitution is useful for, for example, a decorative article or the like. An appropriate decorative article is, for example, a vehicular decorative article such as a finisher, garnish, emblem or braid, an emblem or the like for home electrical appliances, a braid or the like as a building material, a decorative article for toys, everyday items or the like, a glass plate for building facilities, display or the like, a decorative article for resin panels or the like, or other decorative article.

[0040] In the decorative structure 20 formed as a decorative article, a light-transmittive material adequate to constitute the intermediate member 5 of the decorative structure 20 is preferably a resinous material, a glass material, or a composite thereof. Furthermore, in the decorative structure 20 of the present invention, the intermediate member may also acts as the underlayer member. That is, a mirror-like appearance surface 1 a may be provided on one side of the intermediate member 5 instead of the underlayer member 1, and the underlayer member 1 may be omitted. FIG. 4 shows such constitution schematically.

[0041] In such decorative article, the decorative film preferably comprises, like the lamp structure described above, at least a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member, or a colored layer having an optional color tone.

[0042] In particular, the decorative film preferably comprises a metallic coating and a colored layer, and is adhered to the outer face of the intermediate member in such a manner that the metallic coating is disposed farther from the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member than the colored layer.

[0043] Alternatively, the decorative film preferably comprises at least two colored layers having the same or different color tones.

[0044] Furthermore, the decorative film preferably further comprises an adhesive layer made of acrylic adhesive.

[0045] Furthermore, the decorative film preferably further comprises a clear layer as the outermost layer thereof.

[0046] Next, a decorative structure according to the present invention is further described particularly by taking a vehicular lamp structure and a vehicular decorative article as examples. It is needless to say that the present invention is not limited only to these examples.

[0047] A lamp structure according to the present invention may be used in various fields, in particular, is useful as a vehicular lamp structure. A lamp structure can be used in various fields as a illumination means, indicating means, signaling means, or the like. A lamp structure is usually provided with a light source, a housing capable of reflecting the light from the light source at the inner wall thereof, a light-emitting opening, and a lamp cover made of light-transmittive resin which covers the light-emitting opening. An example of such lamp structure is but not limited to a head lamp, fog lamp, clearance lamp, stop lamp, tail lamp, turn signal lamp, backup lamp, or the like. Furthermore, a lamp structure may be a combination of a plurality of lamps, which may be used as, for example, a rear combination lamp at the rear of a vehicle, or a front combination lamp at the front of a vehicle. Further, a decorative structure according to the present invention is usually used in combination with such lamp structure or independently for the improvement of design, etc., but the decorative structure not provided with a light source intentionally is included particularly in the scope of a vehicular decorative article. A vehicle provided with the lamp structure is but not limited to a passenger car, recreational vehicle, bus, truck, or the like. In particular, because of improving design, visibility, etc., the lamp structure is suitable for a passenger car.

[0048]FIG. 5 shows a typical constitution of a lamp structure according to the present invention. The lamp structure 30 comprises a lamp housing 1, and a lamp room defined by a lamp cover 2 covering the light-emitting opening (emitting zone) L at the front of the lamp housing 1.

[0049] The lamp room may have two or more rooms as necessary. Each of the rooms may be independent of one another, or communicate with one another. The lamp room is usually provided with a light source 4 with adequate intensity inserted into a socket (not shown). In some cases, the light source may be omitted from some of the rooms. The inner wall 1 a of the housing has a mirror-like appearance surface of reflective-film structure like a concave mirror from which the light from the light source 4 is reflected in one direction. Instead of the inner wall having such a mirror-like appearance surface, a light reflecting means (which is usually a reflector), not shown in the figure, such as a concave mirror or the like may be provided. The light source 4 may have a cap colored with predetermined color as necessary. When a colored cap is used, a colorless cover can be used instead of a colored cover. For example, an amber-colored cap may be put on a turn signal lamp. A lamp cover is provided with, particularly for the improvement of design or the like which is the recent trend, a non-light-transmitting area i.e. non-light-emitting area which does not substantially concern the emission of the light from the light source 4. This is not an exception to a lamp cover according to the present invention, for which a non-light-transmitting area S is provided as shown in the figure. Furthermore, a multi-layered decorative film 10 according to the present invention is adhered to the non-light-transmitting area S. In an example shown in the figure, the decorative film 10 is adhered to the inside of the lamp cover 2, but, in the present invention, may be adhered to the outside of it.

[0050] In a lamp structure according to the present invention, a mirror-like appearance surface must be provided on the inner wall of the lamp structure. A mirror-like appearance surface means a reflecting surface which can substantially reflect an opposed object like a mirror, and the reflectivity of the mirror-like appearance surface may be changed freely. That is, the mirror-like appearance surface is not always required to be even like a mirror, but may be the same level of a reflecting surface capable of reflecting a shape to some extent and distinguishing a shadow with colors. The mirror-like appearance surface can be formed by various methods, and usually can be formed by metal evaporation, metal plating, finishing metal-containing coating, adhering a plating-appearance transfer foil or film, or the like. Otherwise, the mirror-like appearance surface may be formed by providing a metallic thin plate, a metal-appearance sheet or film, or a plate on which a metal-appearance sheet or film is adhered in the space on the side of the inner wall of the housing.

[0051] Furthermore, in a lam structure according to the present invention, the light-emitting opening (light-emitting area and non-light-emitting area adjacent it) in the lamp room is covered with a lamp cover. The lamp cover is preferably formed from light-transmittive resin by an injection molding method or other forming method. The shape of such lamp cover is not limited provided that the lamp cover has a shape and size suitable for covering the light-emitting surface at least, but is typically circle, rectangle, or square, and in some cases may be an odd shape such as ellipse or L-shape.

[0052] The lamp cover may be of colorless, and may be colored as necessary, that is, according to the hue of the light emitted from it. When the lamp room consists of a combination of two or more rooms, the lamp cover of each of the rooms may be colored with a different color. For example, the cover of a stop-tail lamp required to emit red light is colored with red, and the cover of turn signal lamp required to emit amber light is colored with amber. Alternatively, instead of a colored cover, a colorless cover may be used and the lamp may be covered with a colored cap. By applying such alternative method in addition to aforementioned method, an appearance different from that in case that a colored cover is used can be realized. Of course, the cover of a colorless backup light is not required to be colored.

[0053] A colorless or colored lamp cover can be formed advantageously from optional light-transmittive resin by a forming method. Appropriate forming methods include an ordinary method such as an injection molding method, or vacuum forming method. Furthermore, raw resins used to form the lamp cover include but not limited to styrene resin, rigid PVC, acrylic resin, acrylic resin, polycarbonate resin, or the like. In particular, acrylic resin can be used advantageously, because it has an excellent strength and transparency and can be colored advantageously. In some cases, a glass plate or the like may be used as the lamp cover.

[0054] When a colored lamp cover is manufactured, appropriate amount of coloring material can be mixed into raw resin as described above. Appropriate coloring materials include but not limited to pigment such as perylene pigment, azo pigment, iron oxide, or dye such as chinophutaron dye, azo dye, zisuazo dye, anthraquinone dye, benzopyrene dye (each from color index). For the implementation of the present invention, dye such as azo dye,zisuazo dye, or the like can be particularly advantageously used because of excellent distribution in resin, light emission, transparency, and weather resistance.

[0055] When the lamp cover is manufactured, additives regularly used in the field of plastic molding may be mixed into resin raw in addition to coloring material. Adequate additives include, for example, ultraviolet absorber, light stabilizer, heat stabilizer, or the like. For example, adequate ultraviolet absorbers include but not limited to benzotoriazole, benzophenone, zifeniruacrylate, amine ultraviolet absorbers, or the like. Furthermore, amount of such ultraviolet absorber to be added may be changed, but is usually in the approx. 0 to 3 weight % range relative to total amount of the raw resin.

[0056] The lamp cover is usually shaped like a flat plate and has a even surface, but may have a convexo-concave pattern formed on the inner surface (light source's-side surface) of it. Because the convexo-concave pattern can result a function of a lens or a retroreflective function. The convexo-concave pattern is formed, for example, on a mold in advance, and can be printed to a formed object (lamp cover) by the mold at the step of forming. Furthermore, a lamp cover having a three-dimensional curved surface or the like may be used for the improvement of the design. The thickness of the lamp cover is usually but not limited to a few millimeters.

[0057] The lamp cover is provided with a decorative film adhered to the non-light-emitting area thereof, i.e. the non-light-transmittive area from which the light emitted from the light source disposed in the lamp room does not transmit, or which does not need to allow such light to transmit it. Although a non-light-emitting area of the lamp cover may be provided in various areas, it is usually provided in the area around of the light-emitting opening of the lamp room. That is, the non-light-emitting area is the marginal area of a head lamp, turn signal lamp, backup light, or the like. This non-light-emitting area may take an optional shape in accordance with the area around the light-emitting opening.

[0058] In the lamp cover, by adhering a specific decorative film as described in detail below to the portion of the lamp cover which does not affect the traveling of the light from the light source, remarkable improvement of appearance and/or design of it can be embodied while meeting the requirement by the vehicle operation rule, or the like. In particular, according to the present invention, an appearance, having a remarkable three-dimensional effect and a novel design attracting a person's attention, can be obtained. As understood from the following descriptions, the three-dimensional effect heavily depends on the uniformities of the light-shielding portions of the pattern of the decorative film and the portions visible from the light-permeating portions of the pattern.

[0059] A decorative film according to the present invention can be multilayered decorative film:

[0060] (1) having a pattern originated from a combination of light-permeating portions and light-shielding portions, and

[0061] (2) including at least one appearance-modifying layer comprises; a metallic coating having a metallic appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the inner wall of the lamp structure, preferably a metallic shine appearance; a colored layer having an optional color tone; or a combination thereof.

[0062] The decorative film may further comprises, as necessary, a junction layer, supporting layer, base layer, adhesive layer, clear layer, etc.

[0063] The appearance-modifying layer may be used alone or in combination with one or more of the appearance-modifying layer. When two or more appearance-modifying layers are used, arrangement of the appearance-modifying layers may be changed freely. In more detail of the layer constitution of the decorative film, when it is adhered to the inner surface of the lamp cover, it is preferably adhered to the inner face of the lamp cover in such a manner that the metallic coating is positioned nearer to the lamp cover than the colored layer.

[0064]FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of an example of a decorative film, having a layer constitution described above, adhered to the inner surface of the lamp cover (a pattern is omitted for simple description). The decorative film 10 shown in the figure comprises, in the order seen from the lamp cover 2, an adhesive layer 14, a first intermediate layer 11, a first appearance-modifying layer (metallic coating) 15, a second intermediate layer 12, a second appearance-modifying layer (colored layer) 16, and a third intermediate layer 13. The first and second appearance-modifying layers 15 and 16, that is, the metallic coating and the colored layer may be interchanged, both of the first and second appearance-modifying layers 15 and 16 may be a colored layer, or either of the metallic coating or colored layer may be omitted. The first, second, and third intermediate layers 11, 12, and 13 are optional, and can act as a junction layer, supporting layer, and base layer respectively. These intermediate layers may be a single layer or a multiplayer consisting of two or more layers. Furthermore, the first and third intermediate layers 11 and 13 are colorless and transparent in principle, and at least must not affect the design originated from the metallic coating 15 and the colored layer 16.

[0065] Furthermore, the decorative film is also preferably adhered to the outer surface of the lamp cover. In such case, the decorative film is adhered to the outer face of the lamp cover in such a manner that the metallic coating is positioned farther from the lamp cover than the colored layer.

[0066]FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of an example of a decorative film, having a layer constitution described above, adhered to the outer surface of the lamp cover (a pattern is omitted for simple description). The decorative film 10 shown in the figure comprises, in the order seen from the lamp cover 2, an adhesive layer 14, a first intermediate layer 11, a second appearance-modifying layer (colored layer) 16, a second intermediate layer 12, a first appearance-modifying layer (metallic coating) 15, a third intermediate layer 13, and a clear layer (surface layer) 17. The second appearance-modifying layer (colored layer) 16 may also serve as the first intermediate layer 11. The first and second appearance-modifying layers 15 and 16, that is, the metallic coating and the colored layer may be interchanged, both of the first and second appearance-modifying layers 15 and 16 may be a colored layer, or either of the metallic coating or colored layer may be omitted. The first, second, and third intermediate layers 11, 12, and 13 are optional, and can act as a junction layer, supporting layer, and base layer respectively. These intermediate layers may be a single layer or a multiplayer consisting of two or more layers. Furthermore, the first and third intermediate layers 11 and 13 are colorless and transparent in principle, and at least must not affect the design originated from the metallic coating 15 and the colored layer 16.

[0067] The decorative film has light-permeating portions and light-shielding portions in combination, thus having an optional pattern originated from a combination of them. An appropriate pattern is formed with but not limited to stripes, round holes, dots, square holes, grid-like holes, checkers, or the like. A pattern formed by distributing thin lines scatteringly, which is a variation of stripe, is also effective. If necessary, a combination of these patterns may be added to the decorative patters. These patterns may constitute the light-permeating portions, or else may constitutes the light-shielding portions. The size of each of the patters can be changed freely according to the design effect, etc. which are desired to appear.

[0068]FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C are each a plan view showing examples of possible patterns of the decorative film. The decorative film 10 in FIG. 8A has a pattern shaped like stripes which is formed by repeating a light-shielding portion 10A-shaped like stripes and a light-permeating portion 10B shaped like stripes with the same pitch p. The decorative film 10 in FIG. 8B has a pattern with round holes which is formed by repeating a light-permeating portion 10B shaped like a round hole with the same pitch p and having a light-shielding portion 10A among the light-permeating portions 10B. The decorative film in FIG. 8C has a pattern shaped like checkers which is formed by repeating a square light-shielding portion 10A and a square light-permeating portion 10B having the same size with the same pitch p.

[0069] In a decorative film according to the present invention, it is preferable that:

[0070] (1) an opening percentage defined by an area ratio of the light-permeating portions to the whole of the decorative film is 10 to 99%; and

[0071] (2) the ratio of a distance d between the decorative film and the inner wall of the housing (see, FIG. 2) to the pitch p of the decorative film between a light-shielding portion and a light-permeating portion (see, FIG. 8) is at least 1/40,

[0072] and it is further preferable that the opening percentage is in the 20 to 97% range and the ratio of the distance d to the pitch p is 1/20 or more, and particularly preferable that the opening percentage is in the 35 to 90% range and the ratio of the distance d to the pitch p is in the 1/3 to 5/1 range. When the opening percentage becomes less than 10%, three-dimensional effect to be derived becomes little. On the contrary, when the opening percentage becomes larger than 99%, desired advantage can not be obtained any longer. Furthermore, also when the ratio of the distance d to the pitch p becomes less than 1/40, three-dimensional effect to be derived becomes little.

[0073] In a decorative film according to the present invention, a metallic coating acting as a appearance-modifying layer is formed so as to have an appearance which is the same as or similar to that of a reflecting film provided on the inner wall of the housing constituting the lamp room, or a reflecting film such as a reflector, if existing, fitted to the inside of the housing, and which is usually a metallic appearance, and particularly a metallic shine appearance. The metallic coating can be formed by various methods. The metallic coating may be formed by the evaporation or sputtering of metallic material such as aluminum, chrome, or tin, or else by the coating of resin in which metallic powder such as aluminum powder is distributed, by printing or finishing (including electrostatic finishing) of paint in which bright ink and/or bright material are distributed, such as pearl mica paint, or by other method. Furthermore, the metallic coating may be formed by coating, resin-extruding, or adhering of a film or sheet having a desired light-reflective appearance. The thin-film forming material used in methods described above preferably results a desired light-reflective appearance in addition to has a excellent weather resistance required for the lamp cover. The thickness of the metallic coating may be widely changed according to a desired design effect or the like, but is usually in the range of about 5 to 500 μm, more preferably, in the range of about 20 to 100 μm.

[0074] Furthermore, the colored layer which is used in combination with the metallic coating or independently may also be formed by using various ordinal thin-film forming methods as the metallic coating. That is, the colored layer may be formed by printing, finishing (including electrostatic finishing), or the like of ink or paint having predetermined color tone, or by coating, resin-extruding, or adhering of a film or sheet having a predetermined color tone. The ink and paint may contain bright material such as pearl powder or metal powder, or other additive. The colored layer forming material used in this method preferably has excellent weather resistance or the like required for the lamp cover in addition to coloring nature. According to the knowledge of the inventor, the colored layer has a more remarkable contrast, thus being more effective when it is formed so as to have a darker color tone. The thickness of the colored layer may be widely changed according to a desired design effect or the like, but is usually in the range of approx. 5 to 500 μm, more preferably, in the range of approx. 20 to 100 μm.

[0075] More specifically, the colored layer may be formed, in an embodiment of it, in the form of a colored film by using a plastic material such as a polyester film, polyethylene film, polycarbonate film, vinyl chloride film, acrylic film, polyurethane film, polyolefin film, or inline fluoride film. The colored film useful for the light-shielding portions may be formed by coloring a transparent film with optional coloring material such as pigment or bright material. Adequate pigments include, for example, colorless pigment such as titanium oxide, carbon black, and inorganic and organic color pigments.

[0076] Further, Adequate bright materials include aluminum flake and pearl powder.

[0077] Furthermore, the metallic coating and colored layer may additionally have patterns, pictures, letters, etc. Because the design of the decorative film is more improved.

[0078] A decorative film according to the present invention is preferable provided with an intermediate layer sandwiched between the colored layer and the metallic coating or disposed at other optional position in order to increase the bending strength and the junction strength of it. The intermediate layer can act as, for example, a junction layer, supporting layer, or base layer. An adequate intermediate layer is, for example, a junction layer made of polyurethane resin, etc., or a base layer made of polyester resin. These intermediate layers may be a single layer or a multiplayer consisting of two or more layers.

[0079] A decorative film according to the present invention further comprises an adhesive layer in general in order to be adhered to the decorative film. The adhesive layer used here may be formed by using adhesive used regularly in the fields of adhesive tape, etc., for example, adhesive of pressure sensitive type, heat sensitive type, photo-curing type, or the like. Adequate adhesive includes, for example, acrylic adhesive, polyurethane adhesive, polyester adhesive, etc., and in particular acrylic adhesive can be used advantageously when a weather resistance, etc are considered. The thickness of such adhesive layer may be widely changed, but is usually in the approx. 10 to 500 μm range, more preferably, in the approx. 20 to 100 μm range. When the thickness of the adhesive layer is less than 10 μm, a satisfactory adhesive force can not be obtained. On the contrary, when the thickness of the adhesive layer is larger than 500 μm, the total thickness of the decorative film becomes very large. Actually, in this case, when the adhesive layer is adhered to the outer surface of the lamp cover, the adhesive layer is in the state of jutting from the lamp cover, thus giving a sense of incongruity. Furthermore, such adhesive layer is preferably used with a release liner attached to it for easy handling of the lamp cover and adhering of the decorative film to the lamp cover.

[0080] A decorative film preferably further comprises a clear layer as the outermost layer thereof when the decorative film is adhered to the outer face of the lamp cover. The clear layer preferably has weather resistance and heat resistance in addition to transparency which is basically an essential nature, from the view point of acting as a protection film. Further, the clear layer preferably has good adherence to the underlayer of it. Adequate resins to form the clear layer include but not limited to polyester resin, polyethylene resin, polycarbonate resin, vinyl chloride resin, acrylic resin, polyurethane resin, polyolefin resin, fluorine resin (PVdF, ETFE, etc.), etc. These resins may be used, as required, in the form of a mixture or copolymer. Furthermore, the clear layer can give a shine to the lamp cover to improve the appearance of the lamp cover.

[0081] It is preferred that ultraviolet absorber is mixed into the clear layer in order to increase the weather resistance of the decorative film. Adequate ultraviolet absorbers include but not limited to benzotriazole ultraviolet absorber, benzophenon ultraviolet absorber, cyanoacrylate ultraviolet absorber, etc.

[0082] Furthermore, the thickness of the clear layer may be changed widely according to a desired effect or the like, but is usually in the approx. 1 to 500 μm range, more preferably, in the approx. 10 to 100 μm range. When the thickness of the clear layer is less than 1 μm, it can not act as a protection film. On the contrary, when the thickness of the clear layer is larger than 500 μm, the total thickness of the decorative film becomes very large.

[0083] The light-shielding portions of the appearance-modifying layer may be formed made of light-shielding material. For example, after a material shaped like a sheet or film the whole of which has light-shielding nature is prepared, openings of light-permeating portions shaped like stripes, grid, dot, or the like may be made in the material, or else slits may be made in the material, by punching or the like. Furthermore, at the step of forming an appearance-modifying layer shaped like a film, coloring material is mixed into film's raw to manufacture an appearance-modifying layer having light-shielding portions formed in a predetermined pattern. Furthermore, the light-shielding portions may be formed by adhering a colored film having a predetermined pattern to a transparent film, or by printing a colored layer in a predetermine pattern on a transparent film. The obtained decorative film may be adhered to the surface of the lamp cover, by using a carrier-tape as required, by compressing, heat-laminating, or the like. According to the present invention, it is not required to form a decorative pattern by evaporation, printing, or the like through complicated work, and thereby workability becomes excellent and availability becomes extremely large.

[0084] A decorative structure according to the present invention covers not only a lamp structure described above, but also other lamp structure (without a light source in the lamp room) or other decorative structures. Other decorative structures include, for example, a decorative article, etc. which are adhered to a vehicle, home electric appliance, toy, or the like to be used. For example, a vehicular article is but not limited to a finisher, garnish, emblem, chenille, or the like.

[0085]FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of an example of a vehicular decorative article according to the present invention (patters are omitted for simple description). The vehicular decorative article 40 shown in the figure is an emblem comprising a base material 41, decorative film 10, and a transparent intermediate member 45 sandwiched between the base material 41 and the decorative film 10. On the mirror-like appearance surface 41 a of the base material 41, a vehicle name logo name is printed by patterning. The decorative article 40 is adhered to a predetermined portion of the vehicle 47 via the adhesive layer 48.

[0086] The decorative film 10 comprises, in the order seen from the base material 41, an adhesive layer 14, a first intermediate layer 11, a second appearance-modifying layer (colored layer) 16, a second intermediate layer 12, a first appearance-modifying layer (metallic coating) 15, a third intermediate layer 13, and a clear layer (surface layer) 17. The first and second appearance-modifying layers 15 and 16, that is, the metallic coating and the colored layer may be interchanged, both of the first and second appearance-modifying layers 15 and 16 may be a colored layer, or either of the metallic coating or colored layer may be omitted. The first, second, and third intermediate layers 11, 12, and 13 are optional, and can act as a junction layer, supporting layer, and base layer respectively. These intermediate layers may be a single layer or a multiplayer consisting of two or more layers. Furthermore, the first and third intermediate layers 11 and 13 are colorless and transparent in principle, and at least must not affect the design originated from the metallic coating 15 and the colored layer 16.

[0087] In the vehicular decorative article shown in the drawing, there is no limitation about the base material which may be decided freely according to the kind of the decorative article. An adequate base material is, for example, a film or sheet made of plastic material such as polyester resin or polyurethane resin, or a metal foil, metal sheet, or the like as required, and in some cases, an adequate base material may be, for example, a plastic plate, metal plate, or the like. These base materials may be used as they are, or may have an adhesive layer on the side other than the side facing the decorative film. Further, the base material may be omitted, and the mirror-like appearance surface to be provided on the base material may be formed on one side of a transparent member described below.

[0088] A decorative article according to the present invention is required to be provided with a mirror-like appearance surface on one side of the base material, or, if necessary, on one side of the transparent intermediate member. The mirror-like appearance surface may be basically the same as that of the aforementioned lamp structure, and thereby it is not always required to be even like a mirror, but may be a reflecting surface capable of reflecting a shape to some extent and distinguishing a shadow with colors. Furthermore, the mirror-like appearance surface usually can be formed, like the lamp structure, by metal evaporation, metal plating, coating metal powder containing paint, adhering a plating-appearance transfer foil or film, or the like. Furthermore, the mirror-like appearance surface may have a pattern, picture, letter, or the like partially.

[0089] The transparent intermediate member disposed between the base material which can be omitted and the decorative film can be formed made of various light-transmittive materials. A light-transmittive material adequate to form the intermediate member is a translucent and formable material, for example, polyester resin, polyurethane resin, polyvinyl chloride, acrylic resin, polycarbonate resin, polystyrene resin, melamine resin, polyolefin resin (polypropylene, polyethylene, EEA, AEE, EVA, etc.), fluorine resin (PVdF, ETFE, etc.), or the like. These resins can be formed in desired shape and size by injection molding method, heat-press method, casting method, extrusion molding method, shaving method, or the like. Further, the intermediate member may consist of, instead of resin as described above, other light-transmittive material, for example, inorganic material such as glass.

[0090] The intermediate member is usually colorless and transparent, but may be colored according to the design effect, etc. to be achieved, and in particular preferably colored with pale color. If the base material is not used as described above, a mirror-like appearance surface may be formed on one side of this intermediate member by the same method as described above.

[0091] The thickness of the intermediate member is usually but not limited to a few millimeters. However, the intermediate member may have a thickness less than 1 mm or more than 10 mm according to the kind of the decorative article.

[0092] The decorative film used in combination with the intermediate member has basically the same constitution as that used in the lamp structure described above, thereby having a metallic coating, colored layer, or a combination thereof as a appearance-modifying layer.

[0093] The metallic coating which is one member of the appearance-modifying layer is usually formed so as to have an appearance which is the same as or similar to that of the underlayer of the decorative film, and which is usually a metallic appearance, and particularly a metallic shine appearance. Such metallic coating can be formed by various methods as already described, for example, by the evaporation or sputtering of metallic material, or else by the coating of resin, or the like in which metallic powder is distributed, by printing or finishing of paint in which bright ink and/or bright material are distributed. Furthermore, the metallic coating may be formed by coating, resin-extruding, or adhering of a film or sheet having a desired light-reflective appearance. The thickness of the metallic coating may be widely changed according to a desired design effect or the like, but is usually in the approx. 5 to 500 μm range, more preferably, in the approx. 20 to 100 μm range.

[0094] Furthermore, the colored layer which is used in combination with the metallic coating or independently may also be formed by using various ordinal thin-film forming methods as the metallic coating. That is, the colored layer may be formed by printing, finishing, or the like of ink or paint having predetermined color tone, or by coating, resin-extruding, or adhering of a film or sheet having a predetermined color tone. The ink and paint may contain bright material such as pearl powder or metal powder, or other additive. The thickness of the colored layer may be widely changed according to a desired design effect or the like, but is usually in the approx. 5 to 500 μm range, more preferably, in the approx. 20 to 100 μm range.

[0095] The metallic coating and colored layer used in the decorative film may additionally have patterns, pictures, letters, etc. Because the design of the decorative film is more improved.

[0096] The decorative film is preferable provided with an intermediate layer sandwiched between the colored layer and the metallic coating or disposed at other optional position in order to increase the bending strength and the junction strength of it. The intermediate layer can act as, for example, a junction layer, supporting layer, or base layer. An adequate intermediate layer is, for example, a junction layer made of polyurethane resin, etc., or a base layer made of polyester resin. These intermediate layers may be a single layer or a multiplayer consisting of two or more layers.

[0097] The decorative film further comprises an adhesive layer in general in order to be adhered to the decorative film. The adhesive layer used here may be formed by using adhesive used regularly in the fields of adhesive tape, etc., for example, adhesive of pressure sensitive type, heat sensitive type, photo-curing type, or the like. Adequate adhesive includes, for example, acrylic adhesive, polyurethane adhesive, polyester adhesive, etc. The thickness of the adhesive layer may be widely changed, but is usually in the approx. 10 to 500 μm range, more preferably, in the approx. 20 to 100 μm range.

[0098] The decorative film preferably further comprises a clear layer as the outermost layer thereof when the decorative film is adhered to the intermediate member. The clear layer preferably has weather resistance and heat resistance in addition to transparency which is basically an essential nature, from the view point of acting as a protection film. Further, the clear layer preferably has good adherence to the underlayer of it. Adequate resins to form the clear layer include but not limited to polyester resin, polyethylene resin, polycarbonate resin, vinyl chloride resin, acrylic resin, polyurethane resin, polyolefin resin, fluorine resin (PVdF, ETFE, etc.), etc. These resins may be used, as required, in the form of a mixture or copolymer. The thickness of the clear layer may be changed widely according to a desired effect or the like, but is usually in the approx. 1 to 500 μm range, more preferably, in the approx. 10 to 100 μm range.

[0099] The aforementioned clear layer may be omitted if not required, or, instead of that, a material shaped a film or sheet like the intermediate member may be adhered to or overlaid on the clear layer. In such case, a novel design effect not obtained by the clear layer only could be obtained.

[0100] As described above, the decorative film used in a decorative structure consists of a multilayered film capable of giving a special appearance based on the pattern formed by hole-making, etc., and is adhered to part of a lamp cover or the like of a lamp structure having a housing with a reflecting surface formed by metal-evaporation or the like, or having a reflector and a lamp cover, or of a decorative article having a structure similar to that of the lamp structure. The decorative film has a metal shine appearance as formed by aluminum evaporation on the side of it visible from the outside, and has a colored appearance on the opposite inner side of it.

[0101] When the lamp structure or decorative article having such constitution is seen from the outside, the metallic shine of the decorative film can be observed on the portion (film-portion) where the decorative film is provided. On the other hand, the reflecting surface of the housing or the like can be seen through the portion (non-film portion) where the decorative film is not provided. Furthermore, if the non-film portion is reflected to the reflecting surface, it is recognized as a metal shine surface. On the other hand, if the film-portion is reflected to the reflecting surface, the color tone of the colored layer is recognized. Like this, the appearance varies advantageously based on the visual angle. In the former case, since the metallic appearance of the decorative film and the appearance of the reflecting surface of the housing, or the like substantially resembles each other, both of the appearances are seen as a continuous appearance to a degree that depth differential of the reflector surface is not felt. On the other hand, in the latter case, since the appearance of the metal shine surface of the decorative film is different from that of the colored surface of the colored layer, the feeling of depth to the degree of the distance of round trip between the decorative film and the housing, or the like is produced. Thus, when the observation is performed while changing the angle continuously, a design surface showing a depth which is twice as long as the actual depth appears and disappears, or appears so as to increase and decrease the area of the design surface. Thus, an appearance having a previously unknown high quality and novel design can be obtained. The decorative film may be adhered to, when it is used for a lamp structure, either of the inner surface and the outer surface of the lamp cover, but if the lamp cover is colored, the decorative film adhered to the inner surface can be seen evenly from various angles, thus providing better design, than adhered to the outer surface.

EXAMPLES

[0102] The present invention is described below with reference to its examples. It should be understood that the present invention is not limited to these examples.

Examples 1 to 15 and Comparative Examples 1 to 3

[0103] A laminated film having the following layer constitution was made.

[0104] Adhesive layer (transparent acrylic adhesive, 35 μm thickness)/Metallic coating (tine evaporation layer, 0.5 μm thickness)/Base layer (polyurethane film, 50 μm thickness)/Black colored layer (polyurethane film, 5 μm thickness)/Clear layer (transparent polyurethane film, 20 μm thickness)

[0105] This laminated film was cut to some pieces having different widths as shown in Table, and the these pieces were arranged so as to have different pitches (cycle value with which a light-permeating portion and a light-shielding portion are repeated alternatively) p, and in such condition these peaces were integrated by a carrier tape with adhesive. Obtained decorative film shaped like stripes was adhered to a colorless and transparent acrylic plate (2 nmm thickness) and was compressed.

[0106] An aluminum evaporation film was adhered to one side of an acrylic resin panel having the same shape and size as the above acrylic plate to make it mirror-like state, and then the acrylic plate made at previous process was disposed a distance d (see Table 1) apart from the acrylic resin panel so that the surface of the decorative film faced to the aluminum evaporation film. In Example 15, a 10 mm thickness glass plate was sandwiched between the acrylic plate and the acrylic resin panel instead of disposing the acrylic plate a distance d apart from the acrylic resin panel.

[0107] When the depth appearance of the aluminum evaporation surface of the acrylic resin panel was observed from the acrylic plate side, observation results as described in Table 1 were obtained.

Example 16

[0108] A decorative film having a layer constitution as described in Table 2 was made. This decorative film was designed to be adhered to the inside of the lamp cover.

[0109] The colored layer, base layer, and adhesive layer were made by using products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features.

[0110] Obtained laminated film was cut to some pieces having 4 mm width, and then these pieces were arranged at 4 mm intervals, and in such a condition these pieces were integrated by a carrier tape with adhesive. A decorative shaped like stripes was obtained.

[0111] The above decorative film was adhered to a rear combination lamp of a passenger car on the market, the inside surface of which has plating tone by aluminum evaporation, the front and back of which has a smooth cover, and the inside of which can be seen. In this example, the decorative cover was compressed and fixed to an area of the inside surface of the red lamp cover of the tail light (thickness of the lamp cover: about 2 mm, distance from the inside surface to the housing surface of the lamp room: about 6 mm), the area being limited to the non-light-emitting area around the light-emitting portion. The appearance of the obtained lamp structure was observed when the lamp was not lit while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the following result described with reference to FIGS. 10A, 10B and 10C were obtained.

[0112] When the lamp is observed from its front side as shown in FIG. 10A (observation angle: 0 degrees), the metal-evaporation appearance surface of the decorative film 10 can be observed through the red lamp cover 2, and the metal evaporation surface of the housing 1 can be observed through the light-permeating portions. But, since both of the metal-evaporation appearance surface and the metal evaporation surface have substantially the same red metal shine appearance, substantially uniform appearance is given and the sense of depth is not almost obtained.

[0113] When the observation angle is changed gradually, the black color of the back of the film is being reflected to the metal evaporation surface seen from the light-permeating portion gradually. When the observation angle becomes approx. 18 degrees as shown in FIG. 10B, the light-permeating portions of the decorative film 10 appear substantial black, and the contrast between the light-permeating portions and the film surface becomes most remarkable. The distance differential of eye points at this time is approx. 12.6 mm by calculation.

[0114] When the observation angle is further increased, the black area is reduced gradually, and at the observation angle approx. 34 degrees in FIG. 10C, the appearance becomes similar to that in case of observation from the front.

[0115] From the result of observation described above, it is clear in this example that significantly three-dimensional, very novel, and high quality appearance was obtained by a string of variations of appearance.

Example 17

[0116] A decorative film having a layer constitution as described in Table 3 was made. This decorative film was designed to be adhered to the outside of the lamp cover.

[0117] The colored layer, base layer, and adhesive layer were made by using products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features.

[0118] Obtained laminated film was cut to some pieces having 4 mm width, and then these pieces were arranged at 4 mm intervals, and in such a condition these pieces were integrated by a carrier tape with adhesive. A decorative shaped like stripes was obtained.

[0119] The above decorative film was adhered to a rear combination lamp of a passenger car on the market, the inside surface of which has plating tone by aluminum evaporation, the front and back of which has a smooth cover, and the inside of which can be seen. In this example, the decorative cover was compressed and fixed to an area of the outside surface of the colorless lamp cover of the backup light (thickness of the lamp cover: about 2 mm, distance from the inside surface to the housing surface of the lamp room: about 6 mm), the area being limited to the non-light-emitting area around the light-emitting portion. The appearance of the obtained lamp structure was observed when the lamp was not lit while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the following result described with reference to FIGS. 11A, 11B and 11C were obtained.

[0120] When the lamp is observed from its front side as shown in FIG. 11A (observation angle: 0 degrees), the metal-evaporation appearance surface of the decorative film 10 can be observed through the colorless lamp cover 2, and the metal evaporation surface of the housing 1 can be observed through the light-permeating portions. But, since both of the metal-evaporation appearance surface and the metal evaporation surface have substantially the same colorless metal shine appearance, substantially uniform appearance is given and the sense of depth is not almost obtained.

[0121] When the observation angle is changed gradually, the black color of the back of the film is being reflected to the metal evaporation surface seen from the light-permeating portion gradually. When the observation angle becomes approx. 14 degrees as shown in FIG. 11B, the light-permeating portions of the decorative film 10 appear substantial black, and the contrast between the light-permeating portions and the film surface becomes most remarkable. The distance differential of eye points at this time is approx. 16.5 mm by calculation.

[0122] When the observation angle is further increased, the black area is reduced gradually, and at the observation angle approx. 27 degrees in FIG. 11C, the appearance becomes similar to that in case of observation from the front.

[0123] From the result of observation described above, it is clear in this example that significantly three-dimensional, very novel, and high quality appearance was obtained by a string of variations of appearance.

Example 18

[0124] A decorative film having a layer constitution as described in Table 4 was made. This decorative film was designed to be adhered to the outside of a vehicle as a decorative article.

[0125] The colored layer and clear layer were made by using polyurethane products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features, and the colored layer was made by using acrylic adhesive which is tried and true outdoors.

[0126] Obtained laminated film was cut to some pieces having 2 mm width, and then these pieces were arranged at 2 mm intervals, and in such a condition these pieces were integrated by a carrier tape with adhesive. A decorative shaped like stripes was obtained.

[0127] A thin and flat polyester sheet (0.05 mm thickness) having an aluminum evaporated film on its one side and an adhesive layer with a release paper on the other side was prepared, and a substantially elliptical base material having the size of approx. 12 cm×4 cm was made by punching the polyester sheet. Next, a mixture in which the same amount of transparent urethane resin (SV-8008-M10 of 3M) PART A and PART B are mixed was poured into the aluminum evaporated film side of the base material according to the method described in Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication (Kokai) No. 10-250299. When the urethane resin mixture in an insufficiently cured and flowing state was poured, the mixture flew to the periphery of the base material, and the reaction progressed as time passes, and then cured as polyurethane. A transparent resin layer was obtained which has total thickness of approx. 2 mm and which gradually decreases in thickness from the position approx. 3 mm apart from the periphery to the periphery.

[0128] The transparent resin layer was heaped up on the surface of the base material, and then the above decorative film was adhered to the surface of the resin layer, and was compressed. A decoration shaped like stripes was made on the surface, and an emblem the back of which can be seen through the gap between stripes was obtained. The appearance of the obtained emblem was observed while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the result as described below was obtained.

[0129] Like Example 17 described above, the blue color of the back of the decorative film is seen in the position farther than the surface of the film from the gaps (light-permeating portions) of the decorative film according to the observation angle. Because the blue color of the back of the decorative film is reflected by the aluminum evaporated film of the underlayer and is emitted to the outside through the gaps of the decorative film. As a result, an appearance giving remarkable sense of depth can be obtained. According to the observation angle, the blue color of the back of the decorative film is not seen, and the whole of the appearance looks plating tone (due to aluminum evaporated film). As described above, since blue appearance and plating tone appearance changes continuously according to the change of the angle of the eye point, remarkable three-dimensional effect is obtained.

Example 19

[0130] In this example, although the technique described in the above Example 18 was repeated, the layer constitution of the decorative film was change as described in table 5.

[0131] The colored layer and clear layer were made by using polyurethane products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features, and the colored layer was further colored with blue pigment. Further, the adhesive layer was made by using acrylic adhesive which is tried and true outdoors.

[0132] The appearance of the obtained emblem was observed while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the result as described below was obtained.

[0133] According to the observation angle, a blue appearance given by the blue color of the back of the decorative film reflected by the aluminum evaporated film, an appearance given by an outside scene reflected by the aluminum evaporated film, and an appearance given by the surface of the film are seen at positions of different distances respectively from the gaps (light-permeating portions) of the decorative film, and thereby an appearance giving remarkable sense of depth can be observed. Furthermore, at some observation angle, an appearance given by an outside scene is not substantially seen, and whole appearance is substantially unified to blue by the blue color of the surface of the film and the blue color of the back of the film. As described above, since various appearances change continuously according to the change of the angle of the eye point, remarkable three-dimensional effect is obtained.

Example 20

[0134] In this example, although the technique described in the above Example 18 was repeated, the layer constitution of the decorative film was change as described in Table 6.

[0135] The colored layer and clear layer were made by using polyurethane products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features, and the colored layer was further colored with blue pigment. Further, the adhesive layer was made by using acrylic adhesive which is tried and true outdoors.

[0136] The appearance of the obtained emblem was observed while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the result as described below was obtained.

[0137] According to the observation angle, a red appearance given by the red color of the back of the decorative film reflected by the aluminum evaporated film, and a blue appearance given by the surface of the film are seen with both of color contrast and visible distance contrast from the gaps (light-permeating portions) of the decorative film. Furthermore, at some observation angle, an appearance given by an outside scene reflected by the evaporated film is seen additionally. As described above, since various appearances change continuously according to the change of the angle of the eye point, remarkable three-dimensional effect is obtained.

Example 21

[0138] In this example, although the technique described in the above Example 18 was repeated, the layer constitution of the decorative film was change as described in table 7.

[0139] The clear layer was made by using polyurethane products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features. Further, the adhesive layer was made by using acrylic adhesive which is tried and true outdoors.

[0140] The appearance of the obtained emblem was observed while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the result as described below was obtained.

[0141] According to the observation angle, the shade of the decorative film, and an appearance given by an outside scene reflected by the aluminum evaporated film are seen from the gaps (light-permeating portions) of the decorative film. Furthermore, at some observation angle, the shade of the film is not seen and the whole of the appearance looks even plating tone reflecting the outside scene. As described above, since various appearances change continuously according to the change of the angle of the eye point, remarkable three-dimensional effect is obtained.

Example 22

[0142] In this example, although the technique described in the above Example 18 was repeated, the layer constitution of the decorative film was not changed, but the transparent resin layer was heaped up on the aluminum evaporated film side of the base material after a 4 cm×2 cm letter design (3M) was silk-screen printed to the base plate by using red polyurethane ink (FL500 series of Sumitomo Three-M).

[0143] The appearance of the obtained emblem was observed while changing the angle of the observation vertically to the longitudinal direction of the stripes, and the result as described below was obtained.

[0144] According to the observation angle, a blue appearance given by the red color of the back of the decorative film reflected by the aluminum evaporated film, a letter design (3M) printed to the base material, and an appearance of the surface of the film are seen in different colors and at positions of different distances respectively from the gaps (light-permeating portions) of the decorative film, and thereby an appearance giving remarkable sense of depth can be observed. Furthermore, at some observation angle, the back of the film is not seen and the whole of the appearance looks plating tone including a letter design (3M) appearing piece by piece. As described above, since various appearances change continuously according to the change of the angle of the eye point, remarkable three-dimensional effect is obtained.

Example 23

[0145] In this example, although the,technique described in the above Example 18 was repeated, the layer constitution of the decorative film was change as described in table 8.

[0146] The base layer, colored layer and clear layer were made by using products which are tried and true outdoors in the field of the vehicular exterior features. Further, the adhesive layer was made by using heat-sensitive polyurethane adhesive which is tried and true outdoors.

[0147] A polka dot pattern (red and blue, dot diameter:2 mm) (reverse of the pattern shown in FIG. 8(B))was printed on the base layer one by one to form a colored layer consisting of two layers. The gap between adjacent two dots was 2 mm. Next, the clear layer was screen-printed so as to cover the whole of the colored layer.

[0148] Like Example 18, a decorative film was mounted on the surface of the polyurethane transparent resin layer, and was compressed while heating it by supplying hot air from above for three minutes. The decorative film whose flexibility had increased by heating covered the surface of the transparent resin layer, and was adhered to it firmly to a degree that it can not be torn off due to the heat sensitive polyurethane adhesive. The maximum temperature of the resin surface and the decorative film at the adhering was more than 80° C.

[0149] According to the observation angle, a red appearance given by the red color of the back of the decorative film reflected by the aluminum evaporated film, and a blue appearance given by the surface of the film are seen with both of color contrast and visible distance contrast from the gaps (light-permeating portions) of the decorative film. Furthermore, at some observation angle, an appearance given by an outside scene reflected by the evaporated film is seen additionally. As described above, since various appearances change continuously according to the change of the angle of the eye point, remarkable three-dimensional effect is obtained.

[0150] As described above, the present invention can provide a decorative structure which is novel, has a remarkably excellent three-dimensional effect, thus having an excellent design, and can be easily manufactured, for example, a lamp structure, or a decorative article such as a finisher, garnish, emblem, or braid. The lamp structure can be used advantageously for vehicles, etc., and the decorative article can be used advantageously for vehicles, home electrical appliances, toys, buildings, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014]FIG. 1 is a sectional view showing an example of a conventional vehicular lamp.

[0015]FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view schematically showing an example of the constitution of a decorative structure according to the present invention.

[0016]FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view schematically showing another example of the constitution of a decorative structure according to the present invention.

[0017]FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view schematically showing a further example of the constitution of a decorative structure according to the present invention.

[0018]FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view schematically showing an example of the constitution of a vehicular lamp structure according to the present invention.

[0019]FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view showing an example of the use of decorative film in a lamp structure according to the present invention.

[0020]FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view showing another example of the use of decorative film in a lamp structure according to the present invention.

[0021]FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C are each a plan view showing different examples of a pattern adopted for a decorative film.

[0022]FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view showing an example of a vehicular decorative article according to the present invention.

[0023]FIGS. 10A, 10B and 10C are each cross sectional views schematically showing advantages of a decorative structure according to the present invention.

[0024]FIGS. 11A, 11B and 11C are each cross sectional views schematically showing advantages of a decorative structure according to the present invention.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a decorative structure, and in particular to a decorative structure such as a lamp or decorative article, capable of providing an excellent three-dimensional effect, and an appearance or the like which attracts a person's attention. The present invention also relates to a decorative film useful to the manufacture of such decorative structure.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Various kinds of vehicles including passenger cars, trucks, etc. are provided with red stop lamps and/or tail lamps lit together with the use of a brake, amber turn signal lamps lit together with the use of a directional indicating switch, colorless back-up lights lit together with the backing-up operation, and so on. Each vehicular lamp usually comprises a housing having a light-emitting opening provided at the front of it, a lamp cover shaped like a plate or a lens which covers the light-emitting opening, and a light source disposed in a lamp room defined by the housing and lamp cover. The inner wall of the housing is provided with a reflecting layer integrated with the inner wall, or else it is provided with an independent reflector. In such a vehicular lamp, when the light source is lit, the direct light from the light source and the light reflected by the inner wall of the housing are emitted out of the lamp through the lamp cover, thus performing a desired lighting function.

[0003] In recent years, such a vehicular lamp is required to have a lighting function in the lighting condition as well as an improved appearance in the non-lighting condition in the daytime. As one method to satisfy such user's requirement, it is generally adopted that the non-emitting portion of the lamp cover is provided with a reflecting surface plated like a reflector disposed in the lamp room to make the appearance of the lamp through the lamp cover bright and perspective. In addition, it is also adopted that a decorative article having the same appearance as such lamp but having no light source is provided in juxtaposition with the lamp.

[0004] Furthermore, there are ideas that the appearance of the decorative portion formed by providing a reflecting surface built in the lamp cover as described above, is improved in design and discriminated from another. Almost of the ideas aim to add a concavo-convex pattern to the reflective surface of the housing or the lamp cover to obtain an unique design derived from a complex reflection of light. However, only adding a concavo-convex pattern limits the variation of the appearance to be obtained.

[0005] For this reason, Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication (Kokai) Nos. 1 -66906 and 11-66907 offer that a decorative pattern is formed by the combination of evaporation, color printing, and convex printing to further improve the appearance (to change the visibility due to the movement of a line of sight) by the cooperation between the pattern and the reflective surface of the housing. FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a vehicular lamp disclosed in Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication (Kokai) No. 11-66907. This lamp is provided with a front lens 52 covering the opening portion of the lamp housing 51, and a light source (bulb) 54 inserted into the socket 53. The front lens 52 consists of a light-emitting portion L and lens-dummy portions D and D′. In addition, a reflector 55 for reflecting the light from the light source 54 is disposed on the inner wall of the lamp housing 51. This lamp is provided with a printed sheet 56 along the inside of the front lens 52. The printed sheet 56 has a feature that a transparent and color printed film having a predetermined pattern is printed on the inner surface of a transparent plate, an evaporated film facing the printed film is formed on the outer surface of the plate, and a transparent convex printed layer is formed on outer surface of the evaporated film.

[0006] The vehicular lamp shown in the figure is effective in that bright color light can be seen or can not be seen according to the pattern of the evaporated film due to the movement of a line of sight, but has not yet reached to a point where it provides a three-dimensional effect capable of promoting the improvement of the design. Furthermore, since the structure of the printed sheet is complex, the manufacturing process of it becomes complicate, and the increase of the manufacturing cost of it can not be avoided. For example, the process of forming an evaporated film on a resin plate so as to make a pattern requires a masking material having the same pattern as the printed film, as well as overlaying the convex printed layer on the evaporated film in the same pattern, thus being too limited to be realized as an actual process. Furthermore, since a printed sheet different from the front lens must be disposed inside the front lens, it interferes the emission of the light from the light source necessary to transmit the front lens satisfactorily. In addition, since the printed sheet is disposed nearer to the reflector than the front lens, three-dimensional effect derived from the distance between the printed sheet and the reflector is little. Furthermore, when the plate of the printed sheet has a three-dimensional curved surface, it is too limited to be realized that a pattern is formed on the surface by evaporation or printing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is therefore an object of the present invention to solve one or more problems in the art. For example, it can be an object of the present invention to provide a decorative structure which has a remarkably excellent three-dimensional effect, thus being excellent in design and attracting a person's attention, and can be easily manufactured.

[0008] It can be another object of the present invention to provide a decorative film useful to the manufacture of such decorative structure.

[0009] It can also be an object of the present invention to provide a lamp structure by which various problems with the conventional vehicular lamp described above are solved, and which is novel, has a remarkably excellent three-dimensional effect, thus being excellent in design and attracting a person's attention, and can be easily manufactured.

[0010] It can be another object of the present invention to provide a decorative article such as a finisher, garnish, emblem, or braid, which has a remarkably excellent three-dimensional effect, thus being excellent in design and attracting a person's attention, and can be easily manufactured.

[0011] In one aspect of the present invention, a decorative structure can be provided that comprises a underlayer member having a mirror-like appearance surface; and a decorative film disposed apart from the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member, wherein the decorative film is provided with at least one appearance-modifying layer and has a predetermined pattern originated from a combination of light-permeating portions and light-shielding portions; an opening percentage defined by an area ratio of the light-permeating portions to the light-shielding portions is 10 to 99%; and the ratio (d/p) of a distance (d) between the decorative film and the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member to the pitch (p) of the light-permeating portions and the light-shielding portions in the decorative film is at least 1/40.

[0012] In another aspect of the present invention, is a decorative structure can be provided that is a lamp structure having a light source, a housing capable of reflecting the light from the light source at the mirror-like appearance surface of the inner wall thereof, a light-emitting opening, and a lamp cover made of light-transmittive resin which covers the light-emitting opening. In this lamp structure, a decorative film is adhered to the lamp cover. Such lamp structure is particularly suitable for a vehicular lamp structure, or a lamp structure used for a display or in other technical fields.

[0013] In an additional aspect of the present invention, a decorative structure can be provided that is a decorative article such as a finisher, garnish, emblem, or braid. That is, one member of this decorative article is a decorative film, and an intermediate member made of light-transmittive material is inserted between the mirror-like appearance surface of the underlayer member and the decorative film. Such decorative article is particularly suitable for a vehicular decorative article, or a decorative article used for a display or in other technical fields.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/311.1, 52/311.3
International ClassificationB32B33/00, F21V13/04, F21V3/04, B32B5/14, F21V9/08
Cooperative ClassificationF21S48/2218, F21V9/08, B32B5/14, F21V3/04, B32B33/00, F21S48/24
European ClassificationF21S48/22T2, F21S48/24, B32B33/00, F21V9/08, B32B5/14, F21V3/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
15 Apr 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: 3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY, MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EGASHIRA, KEN;REEL/FRAME:015565/0383
Effective date: 20040319