Research in the field of science and technology continue to churn out outstanding new findings that surpass even our wildest dreams. Fifty years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have wireless telephones, let alone touch screen mobiles. But now, it’s so common for people, even kids, to cart around iPhones and other high tech gadgets that are not just used in communication, but in other areas too, like education, research, and socialization. So, if we were told that, in time, there will be glass windows that will dim or lighten at just a touch of a button, would we think it possible? Or will we just laugh at those who make such ridiculous claims. Well, we really should be more open-minded because technologies that make smart windows possible have actually been invented already.
Windows are important structures in any home or building as these encourage ventilation and allow in light. Many of us take such things for granted as these have always been significant parts of any residence or business establishment. We are so used to seeing and having windows that without these, structures appear austere and strange. But unlike our gadgets, which we expect to advance or change rapidly and continuously, we don’t pay that much attention to our windows. Of course, we express our preferences through the window treatments that we create. But we don’t usually get excited or even expect new developments in relation to windows or window treatments. Still, there are several things to get thrilled about, and two exciting technologies are the SPD and PDLC technology.
SPD stands for suspended particle device. Research Frontiers Incorporated patented and licensed the impressive SPD technology. With the use of SPD, glass is given the ability to readily control the amount of light that passes through it. In a matter of seconds, transparent glass can turn to a darker shade, usually dark blue. Then, it can become lighter again depending on operational requirements or owner preference. In addition to having the ability to control passing light, SPD glass also helps in energy conservation. If SPD windows automatically turn dark whenever they “sense” strong sunlight, then only a small amount of light will be able to filter through. This translates to huge energy savings because if the amount of light filtering inside a room is reduced, then this also means that the room won’t get too warm or hot. The internal temperature of an area can be better maintained, which means that HVAC systems will be able to function more efficiently.
Other outstanding advantages of SPD glass include:
– This can be positioned flat or even curved.
– This can be used in a residential, business or any architectural structure.
– The technology is not only used for windows or buildings, but this is also applied in computers, advertising signage or screens, as well as cellular phones.
We are all familiar with LCDs because most of our gadgets have LCD screens. The same technology is behind the PDLC technology as well. PDLC or polymer dispersed liquid crystals are also used to create automated or “smart” windows. Here, windows can change from a transparent state to a “milky white” or a sort of foggy state. The transparent or clear state is achieved when voltage is applied, which then aligns the liquid crystals. The “milky white” state results when no voltage is applied.
- Photo courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Claire Willows writes for Stoneside, which manufactures Portland Blinds and shades. The company also offers a large selection of commercial blinds and shades, including Roman and cellular shades, and wood and vertical blinds.