What Is Electrochromic Glass?
Imagine a dramatic wall of windows that lets in light but automatically cuts glare, maintains privacy, and saves on heating and air-conditioning costs, all without blinds or curtains. As the sun gets brighter, the windows slowly get darker, reducing the amount of air-conditioning required to offset the heat. And all without sacrificing the view of the outside. These are some of the qualities that have made electrochromic glass the new "miracle" material in home and office applications. Known as "smart glass," "switchable glass," or "switchable windows," electrochromic glass is made up of specially-treated layers manufactured into the glass. When an electric charge flows through the layers, the glass can go from transparent, to translucent to completely opaque at the flip of a switch, day or night. Electrochromic glass also protects against damaging UV rays from sunlight and other wavelengths from artificial light, a quality that not only protects skin and eyes, but also protects against fading. How Electrochromic Glass works Watching the glass work is fascinating. When you switch it on and a small burst of electricity flows through the glass, the edges of the glass begin to get more opaque and usually blue-tinted, with the change gradually moving towards the center of the glass until the entire surface is translucent. You have privacy, but can still see the outside view through the glass. You don't need to keep the electricity flowing: as soon as the glass is translucent, turn the switch off. The glass stays opaque until the switch is flipped again to reverse the process. The action of the glass can be controlled by a manual switch, remote control, movement or light sensors, or a timer, allowing you to customize the way you use it according to your needs. You may have seen electrochromic glass at work in movies like Philadelphia or The Sum Of All Fears, where the windows and walls of a conference room become translucent when a switch is flipped. USES FOR ELECTROCHROMIC GLASS Of course electrochromic glass is great for large windows, to control energy costs without sacrificing light and views. But it's also useful in interior panels or partitions where you sometimes need privacy. Large open rooms can be temporarily turned into smaller and more intimate spaces as the need arises, matching the space with the use. Hospitals have used the glass to create patient privacy: because glass can be cleaned more easily and more often, it's more hygienic than cloth curtains.
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