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Frosted glass is glass with at least one side rough, scattering the light passing through. It is therefore translucent. In my office some different material is placed over some windows producing similar effect.

In both cases applying substance of similar refractive index, which has the property of filling the pits on the material, like oil or glue and creating a smooth surface turns translucent surface into transparent.

I found a mention that translucent vinyl cannot be made transparent in this manner. Is that the case too, and what's the reason?

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    $\begingroup$ Might be that you have not pits to fill. Cavities (bubbles of air, for instance) fwithin the polymer can diffuse as well. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Jul 31 '17 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Alchimista I think you should post that as an answer $\endgroup$ – Asher Jul 31 '17 at 16:33
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A quite general reason is that a material can have internal defects (fillers, bubbles, etc.) of size consistent with diffusion by scattering. Not sure if is the case of your polyvinyl.

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  • $\begingroup$ While this was revealing (pun not intended), I upvoted without accepting yet, because question was specific to vinyls. $\endgroup$ – Szymon Jul 31 '17 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ How shall I know if your polyvinyl has" bubbles" inside? Moreover it can also be that you found nothing with similar refractive index, in this case. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Oct 28 '17 at 13:32

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