March 14, 2014

How it works: Smart glass

Explaining technical details

It’s the old features vs benefits debate. If someone is highly technical or they have to install the product, then the features are benefits in their eyes.

Or sometimes you just need to explain the science bit – doesn’t mean it can’t be salesy though 😉

Technical Spec Page:

C2S-PDLC: Privacy on demand

Smart glass or, to give it its proper name, ʻpolymer dispersed liquid crystal glassʼ is quite simply the most flexible solution you can have for your home or work space.

With a touch of a button you can transform a wall into a window. You can turn a fresh, contemporary glass walled room into a private meeting space.

In fact, wherever you need privacy at the touch of a button C2S-PDLC fits the bill.

Applications and Uses

You can use the glass as an interior wall to break up space, excellent for medical examining rooms or meeting rooms. But as the technology that makes the glass ʻswitchableʼ can be applied to all kinds of glass, you can also install it on an exterior wall. Double glazed glass, fire-rated glass and even curved glass can be given the ʻprivacy on demandʼ treatment.

How it works

With the application of a small electrical current, C2S-PDLC turns from a translucent state to a clear state.

Several layers of active material are attached to the glass. Put simply, there are three layers to the switching mechanism. A central liquid crystal layer, and two conductive layers on each side. Think of it as a liquid crystal sandwich with conducting ʻbreadʼ.

When no current is applied, the crystals within the central liquid layer are aligned randomly and are in constant motion. Incident light is reflected and scattered away from the layer. The light is unable to pass through, so the glass appears opaque.

However, when the switch is turned to ʻonʼ and electric current flows from one conducting layer, through the liquid crystal centre to the other conducting layer, the situation changes.

Now the crystals suspended in the liquid all line up, face the same direction and stop moving. Light is not reflected or scattered, and is able to pass through, thus the glass becomes clear.

If youʼre worried about the energy usage, thereʼs no need. The panels use a mere 7 Watts per square metre per hour. And you can decide whether you want a simple wall switch, a remote control, or both.

Quality you can trust

We envisage every possible problem that could occur with this technology and test extensively for them. Quality checks include:

  • Switching test: we put our test glass through itʼs paces to the tune of 5 million cycles.
  • Humidity test: samples are immersed in water for 1000 hours and then tested.
  • Peel test: we donʼt want the active layer to come unstuck, so we apply an extensive peel test to make sure it doesnʼt.

To give you peace of mind you get a five year guarantee with all switchable glass products.