What Are Smart Windows? What Are Smart Windows?

Smart windows are a type of window that helps to regulate light that enters a room. These windows are also used to better control heating and air conditioning costs. Some of the kinds of glass used are electrochromic, liquid crystal, micro-blinds and suspended particle. The following article will help to explain each of these smart windows.

Electrochromic

The light properties of this smart window are changed through voltage. This allows you to control the amount of heat and light let in by the smart window by pressing a button which then changes opacity from colored, translucent and finally transparent. Once you use the electrical current to change the opacity no more interaction with electricity is needed to maintain that state. Despite the darkened state of the window, you can still see clearly from it. These smart windows aren't glass at but are a refined nano-crystalline film. The window is created by making several layers of the film.

Suspended Particles

This type of smart window technology is actually a thin film of laminate particles that are somewhat rod-shaped. These particles are placed in fluid which suspended them in place and this is then sandwiched between two piece of plastic or glass. Without any electrical charge the particles are arranged randomly and in this state they absorb light which causes the smart window to darken. When current is applied the particles line up and allow light through. These windows can be controlled so you can dim them and allow as much light and heat in as you like. The transparent state of the window has to be maintained through a constant current.

Liquid Crystal

This technology is not unlike televisions which use LCD technology. Polymer is used to dissolve the crystals and then is cured to make it a solid. During this process the crystals no longer are compatible with the solid state of the polymer. This created droplets all over the polymer. This mixture is sandwiched between two layers of plastic or glass along with a very thin layer of material that is conductive. This is then followed up by the polymer curing. This entire process creates a capacitor. A power supply is then added with electrodes being attached. In its natural state this smart window is a murky white but once current is added the crystals line up and allow light to pass through. You can control the amount of light coming through by the amount of current you allow through.

Micro-Blinds

These are created out of rolled metal blinds that are very thin and placed on glass. They are not often visible to the naked eye. This layer of metal is placed by way of lithography or magnetron sputtering. The glass has a layer of conductive oxide which is transparent along with some insulation between the metal and glass. In its normal state lights is let through but once electricity is added the metal blinds roll down and block out light. Out of all of the smart windows this type is the easiest and cheapest to make.

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