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The Future of Glass: Smart Windows and NanoScience

As glass making techniques have improved over the centuries, the functional qualities of glass have improved. Better technology has made it possible to produce glass that provides better insulation and higher durability. But that’s nothing compared to the innovations glass offers today.

Smart Windows

As if smart phones weren’t enough, we now have smart windows! New smart-window technology can tint glass, changing it from fully transparent to dark in less than 1 minute, could help cut the costs of heating and cooling buildings by up to 20%!

The technology was developed by Stanford University researchers and published in the journal Joule. The new approach uses a polymer gel containing metal ions applied on top of a transparent electrode. When voltage is applied, the metal ions plate the electrodes, blocking all wavelengths of light. After the opposite voltage is applied, the windows switch back to being transparent.

The technology is still too expensive to be used everywhere yet, but as the cost comes down, we will see smart windows being used in residential and commercial buildings. For now, the technology is being used by luxury airliners and automobile companies.

Invisible Glass: NanoTechnolgy

There’s nothing worse than trying to watch TV with sunlight streaming into a room creating a huge glare. Whether they’re on smartphone displays or TV screens, reflections can be a nuisance. US Department of Energy scientists working at Brookhaven National Laboratory, however, have reportedly found a way of almost eliminating all reflections and essentially making glass become invisible. The technology involves etching tiny nanoscale cones into regular glass. The implications for putting this technology into practice reach further than just eliminating annoying glare on consumer products. Eventually, nanoscience could be used in medical devices that use pulses of light and even in making glass more energy efficient by minimizing the amount of sunlight lost to reflection.

Wakefield Equipment

Wherever the future of glass takes us, you can be sure that Wakefield will remain on the forefront of bringing you glass manufacturing equipment to help your business grow.

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