Smart Windows

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Smart Glass Windows
Smart Glass Windows
Other Names:
Replacement Smart Glass Windows
Windows which control the amount of light which enters a room by changing, at the owner's direction, from a clear glass to a privacy glass mode.

Smart glass is manufactured in a manner which changes the glass from clear to clouded, or dark to light at the flip of a switch. Homeowners who feel that specific areas in their home need privacy or darkened glass during certain periods of the day or evening can order a replacement window with smart glass. Smart glass replacement windows operate on regular electricity and are wired to the home's main fuse box. The smart glass windows draw only a small amount of power, making them a unique practical application for many locations in the home. Homeowners can switch the windows back and forth from darkened or clouded glass to light or clear glass at will.


[edit] Placement

Smart glass replacement windows can be installed in any area of the home. A home design may call for placing a smart glass window in a bathroom, home office, as part of a skylight or in any specific ground floor window through which the homeowner wishes to block visual access from the outside.

[edit] Advantages

Smart glass replacement windows can save costs for heating and cooling as well as for lighting. The added expense of a replacement smart glass window may be offset by eliminating the need for curtains, light screens or blinds. Smart glass replacement window options include opaque, liquid crystal or electrochromic smart glass. When used in conjunction with a Low-E (low emissivity) coating the smart glass glazing blocks most Ultra Violet rays which reduces sun-induced damage and fading of furnishings inside the home.

[edit] Operation

Smart glass replacement windows change light transmission properties from transparent glass to translucent glass when voltage is applied. Smart windows control the amount of light and heat that enters a room. Smart glass windows change the properties of the glass, providing a completely clear view through the glass and then changing the glass to completely blocking light. Some replacement smart windows are darkened or tinted when activated and clear when unactivated while other smart glass windows are clear when unactivated and darkened or clouded when activated. The smart glass replacement window technology options include smart glass manufactured with electrochromic devices, micro-blinds, suspended particle devices, mechanical devices or liquid crystal devices.

[edit] Electrochromic Devices

Electrochromic devices are activated when voltage changes the electrochromic properties of the window. After the change, no additional electricity is needed to maintain the change. When the change is activated the windows slowly become darker or lighter, starting along the edges and moving inward. Changing back involves the same action, though in reverse. When the glass is dark the people in the room can still see outside the room.

[edit] Micro-Blinds

Micro-blinds are a newer replacement smart glass option which are comprised of rolled thin metal blinds. These blinds are applied to glazing panels. When no voltage is applied the micro-blinds are rolled and allow light to pass through while the application of voltage unrolls the micro-blinds and blocks light transfer. The blinds are simple and a cost-effective smart window alternative.

[edit] Suspended Particle Devices

Glazing technology which utilizes suspended particle devices is a replacement smart glass window alternative. Windows manufactured with suspended particle devices utilize rod-like particles to create a thin film which is suspended in fluid. This fluid is then coated on one glazing pane or pumped in between two glass panes. In its natural state the particles remain suspended and create a dark glass while once voltage is applied, the particles align, allowing light to pass. Adjustments allow the homeowner to control the amount of light and heat that passes through the window.

[edit] Liquid Crystal Devices

Liquid crystal smart windows employ polymer dispersed liquid crystal devices which are dispersed or dissolved into a liquid polymer. When this solution solidifies it can be placed between two layers of plastic or glass along with a thin layer of a transparent conducive material. Electrodes are then attached and activated which scatters the light and results in a translucent appearance. Some liquid crystal devices employ a lamination process in which the solution is coated in between two window panes.

[edit] Mechanical Smart Windows

Mechanical smart windows employ two retro reflective panels which are mounted back-to-back within the window frame. There is a narrow gap in between these panels. When the windows are activated a liquid which contains the same refractive index as that of the panes is pumped into this cavity and turns the glass transparent. When a switch to drain the liquid is activated the glass turns reflective again.

[edit] Smart Window Styles

Smart glass is a suitable glass alternative for many types of windows including casements, vertical and horizontal sliding windows and various styles of fixed pane windows.

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