Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name

BS in Materials Engineering




Katherine Chen


As a means to develop fashionable, buoyant prescription sunglasses, this project focused on identifying a system of lens and frame materials that yield sunglasses that float in water. There was an emphasis on developing a product that could be integrated into the current sunglass market. The term fashionable is used to define a sleek frame style that does not require attaching additional floatation. This methodology relies on the relationships between the strength of the user’s prescription and the volume of the desired sunglass frame style. This relationship was verified through buoyancy testing. This testing included varying the lens material in a given sunglass frame and successfully predicting the frame’s buoyancy. An object was deemed buoyant, if it remained at the liquid’s surface indefinitely. As a result, an appropriate system of materials was selected for the product. An acceptable material system includes a dense lens material and a frame material that is less dense than water. The system is also defined by the volumetric ratio of lens and frame. This methodology was summarized into a customer friendly guide. A model was developed that allows the customer to enter their prescription, and the available sunglass frame styles are displayed. For most prescriptions, the user is able to choose from all available frame styles. However, users with stronger prescriptions may be limited to frame styles with large volumes.