Scientists invent glass to block sun's heat, not light

Scientists at the University College of London's (UCL) department of Chemistry claim to have developed an intelligent window coating, which when applied over the glass, blocks only the sun's heat and not any light.

The research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) appearing in the Journal of Materials Chemistry reports that the coating's ability to differentiate between absorbing and reflecting light helps in reducing the heating by as much as 50 per cent when the temperature inside the room soars."Technological innovations such as intelligent window coating really open the door to more creative design. While the heat reflective properties of vanadium dioxide are well recognised the stumbling block has been the switching temperature. It's not much good if the material starts to reflect infrared light at 70 degrees Celsius. We've shown it's possible to reduce the switching temperature to just above room temperature and manufacture it in a commercially viable way," the journal quoted Professor Ivan Parkin, from the UCL's Department of Chemistry and senior author of the study as saying.

Although the scientists are very pleased with their invention, they still feel the need to carry on further research to find out the durability and the life of the coating apart from other studies aimed at increasing the glass's attractiveness.

"The next step in getting the coating to market is to investigate how durable it is. Ideally, because it's laid down at the point of manufacture you want it to last for the life time of the window but looking round you see many windows that date from the Victorian era, so we need the coating to last for over 100 years.

Another consideration, is the colour of the coating. At present it's yellow/green, which really isn't attractive for windows. So we're now looking into colour suppression as a way round this", he added.

600450 Scientists invent glass to block sun's heat, not light
Date: 11 August 2004

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