The smart glass market is growing with the increase in urbanization and advancements in infrastructure around the world. The smart glass is also known as light control glass (LCG), switchable glass or privacy glass and are used for architectural, automotive, interior, and product design industries. The smart glass technologies help in altering the amount of light transmitted through typically transparent materials, allowing these materials to appear as transparent, translucent, or opaque. The smart glass is an innovative building material that is made from electrochromic glass to create intelligent partitions, windows, and skylights. The active smart glass technology allows the control of various light visible with the help of electricity, the glass gets switched from opaque to transparent, allowing for dynamic light control. The smart glass comes in two primary types passive and active. The passive type includes Thermochromic and Photochromic and Active type includes Electrochromic (EC), Suspended particle Devices (SPD), and Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC). The advancing technology is expected to grow the market share of the energy and power industry.
Thermochromic Smart Glass
The thermochromic glass is an emerging technology in window design, this smart material changes its tint automatically by using heat and light from the sun to darken or lighten the tint of the glass. The thermochromic is a passive type of smart glass. It reduces glare and increases energy efficiency in the building. These glasses are mainly used for controlling solar heat.
Photochromic Smart Glass
The photochromic smart glasses are a passive type of smart glass technology. The photochromic glass changes its light transmission properties according to the amount of UV light. They are used in color-changing lenses for sunglasses, data storage, novelty items, and super-molecular chemistry but they are majorly used for architectural glazing as a form of smart glass.
Electrochromic Device (ECD)
The electrochromic device glass filters both the light and heat of solar rays. The ECD uses two electrodes to drive ionized particles from the “inside” of the glass (transparent) to the “outside” (opaque). Once the particles have moved, no current is required for them to stay at the current state and this impacts the transition time to a gradual speed from its outdoor edges, inward, and full transition can take several minutes or more, depending on the size of the glass. The electrochromic switchable glass is am an ideal choice for exterior applications like energy-conserving windows but is not good for using as privacy glass as it cannot turn completely opaque.
Suspended Particle Device (SPD)
The Suspended Particle Device contains minuscule solid particles that are suspended in liquid and coated between two thin layers of PET-ITO to create a film. Its shades and cool interior helps in blocking up to 99% of incoming natural or artificial light within seconds of shifting voltage. The suspended particle devices are not recommended for privacy purpose as they don’t turn completely opaque nor it is optimized for projection. The suspended particle device can be used in interiors where darkness is required and even in the exterior. The suspended particle device helps in creating more comfortable and environment-friendly indoor spaces. It saves energy costs by regulating the temperature within a structure.
Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC)
The Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) uses liquid crystal a material that shares characteristics of both liquid and solid compounds, which are dispersed into the polymer. The PDLC with switchable smart glass is one of the most highly used technologies and this type of technology is generally used for interior applications and they can be optimized for use in outdoor conditions. The PDLC is available in two applications laminated (for newly fabricated glass) and retrofit (for existing glass) use. The increase in the use of PDLC will grow the smart glass market share.
Benefits of Smart Glass: –
- Provides privacy
The smart glass provides privacy and it is one of the main reasons for utilizing this technology. It majorly used in offices for making partitions for meeting rooms, higher-level employees’ rooms, and for improvising the interiors. It is even used for controlling the light and temperature in the office.
- Light Transmittance
The smart glass helps in controlling temperature and light in the interior area and saves the cost of energy. The smart glass provides total privacy without blocking the outside light, offices, homes, retail stores and among others can opt for total privacy when their glass is switched off. Even in the daylight, some light penetrates the glass without allowing visibility through it, depending on where glass is installed with respect to sun as a slight hue of light comes through glass, acting as a natural, energy free, the gentle light source for the room itself.
- Easy for using and maintaining
The smart glasses are easy to use and to maintain and are simple both in terms of operation and function. The smart glass can be controlled according to the user choice like the glass can change from frosted to clear at the press of a button, a flick of a switch or even by voice command with use of virtual home assistant making it even easier to use and giving privacy to the occupant as it desires.
- Improves Aesthetics
The smart glass even helps in improvising the aesthetics of home or office. The smart glass is a glass-based product which makes it provide crystal clear clarity on the surface it has been applied to. The smart glass blends extremely well with the environment and when it is switched off, the glass reverts to a frosted state, ensuring that it looks the part of the surrounding.
- All-round performance
The smart glass provides an all-around performance by providing saving in energy cost, improving aesthetics, privacy, and reducing energy consumption. The smart glass is giving rise to the use of various technologies for combinations that gives rise to an entirely new product range. From being a simple privacy solution to a multi-functional projection screen, engaging audiences and reverting to clear glass when not in use.
Applications of Smart Glass:-
- Office Partitions
The smart glass is used as office partitions, electrically switchable glass partitions and walls add adaptability and provide aesthetics to office interiors.
The smart glass in the hotel adds elegance and efficiency to the place as it is an ideal solution for including a cozy lounging and sleeping space, clean and relaxing bathroom, it makes you feel spacious within the limited square footage.
In hospitals smart glass is eliminating the need for traditional drapery and curtains. It helps the doctor to check the patient without entering a room, reducing disturbances and chances of contamination and improving the overall patient recovery process.
There is a rise in the usage of smart glass in residents owing to use as switchable glass windows, doors, and partitions.
The smart glass is used in retail as a smart visual merchandising technique for complete utilization of storefront windows for advertising and for allowing a view into the store.