Smart glass technology refers to a type of transparent glass that becomes opaque with a flip of a switch. Chromogenic materials in the glass modify their light transmission properties with an electrical current. In 1704, the first electrochromic materials, which change colors with an electrical charge, were found, but they were not commercially applied till the 1930s. It was in the early 1970s that smart glass technology took off, with numerous companies patenting glass with the ability to change opacity in used in architecture, automotive mirrors, museum exhibitions and more.
In an instant, liquid-crystal glass changes from milky white to hazy clear. Two clear or tinted sheets of laminated glass, with two plastic interlayers, sandwich a liquid crystal film. The normal or off state is opaque, and when electric current is applied, it turns clear, with no in-between state. Needing constant electrical current to stay transparent, there is not much energy saving in this glass. It was designed for bank screens, display cases and other commercial interior applications.
Suspended Particle Device Smart Window
Suspended-particle-device (SPD) smart windows utilize conductive film with suspended, light absorbing, microscopic particles between two panes of glass. The glass is dark when there is no electrical charge, but when it is charged, the particles change the glass to clear, with a great control over the transparency. However, it needs constant electricity to remain transparent.
Electrochromic glass has a microscopically-thin coating of an electrochromic section sandwiched between layers of glass, which changes from clear to dark with the application of electricity. However, it can respond slowly, with an "iris effect," where opacity change starts from the outer portions of the glass and works its way toward the middle.
- Photo Credit Andrew Bret Wallis/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
How to Change Clear Glass in French Doors to Obscure
Obscure glass allows light to enter a room through a window without sacrificing privacy. When you have French doors -- doors with...
How to Frost Clear Glass Shower Doors
How to Frost Clear Glass Shower Doors. If you want to frost the clear glass on your shower doors for added privacy,...
How to Make Neon Sign Colors
Neon gas is the first primary inert gas used to produce neon sign colors and results in red colors when electricity is...
How to Make Windows Opaque
Windows that are exposed to the neighbors or a busy street may require additional privacy. As an alternative to heavy drapes, consider...
What Are Opaque Colors?
In crafting with paper, glass or even paints and stains, opaque is a term used to describe the material's ability to block...
Types of Opaque Glass
Glass is one of the oldest forms of art, dating back to about 3,500 years ago when sand was first melted and...
How Can I Dress Up a Very Small Bathroom Window?
Creating a window treatment for a very small bathroom window can be a challenge, but it can also be an opportunity to...