What is Smart Glass and How Does It Help?

Smart glass or switchable glass is a relatively new type of glass that can be turned translucent/opaque and vice versa with a press of a button or with a tap on the application. All of this is possible thanks to the magic of PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals) that consists of microscopic droplets of liquid crystal, which are suspended in a polymer. In general, the glass changes from opaque to transparent or translucent when some voltage, heat or light is applied to it. Its ability to change the intensity to light transmission makes it a fad in most modern commercial as well as residential buildings out there.

How do smart glass windows work?

Smart glass windows are made with a PDLC layer (polymer dispersed liquid crystal) that consists of microscopic droplets of liquid crystal, which are suspended in a polymer. Naturally in PDLC, without the electrical current, all the molecules are arranged in a random direction to refract and reflect light away from it, thus giving it a frosted look. This is done by having a glass electrode sandwich, an electrochemical layer which is usually made from tungsten oxide, and an electrolyte containing lithium ions. When a particular voltage is applied across the setup, it makes the molecules move into the electrochromic material, changing it from opaque to transparent or translucent depending on the type of glass you are dealing with. Apart from all that, these windows also require an additional anti reflective coating on their exterior to increase the transparency of the window otherwise it can get quite dark.

Benefits of smart glass windows

There are numerous benefits associated with replacing your everyday glass windows with smart glass windows. Some of the major advantages of using smart glass windows in office as well residential environments are:

  • Low maintenance

  • People believe that smart glass windows are a complicated piece of hardware that requires heavy maintenance and they can’t be more wrong. Smart glass windows work on a simple on/off mechanism which can be activated by a flick of a switch, a tap on an application or a simple voice command which makes them not only easy to use but also low maintenance.

  • Better aesthetics

  • Smart glass windows’ ability to change their opacity with the push of a button invites loads of opportunities in residential as well as official places. Apart from its applications as a traditional window, people also use it to increase the aesthetics of their room by placing them smartly and you can do the same with the help of an experienced professional.

  • Enhanced privacy

  • Smart glass is the latest technological marvel in the glass industry thanks to its ability to turn completely opaque from transparent and vice versa. This property of smart glass windows enhances the privacy of a house, office or room without restricting other benefits of a traditional glass window like natural light transmittance or the ability to let the user enjoy the outside world from the comfort and safety of his home.

  • Light transmittance

  • The most important and probably the only job of a traditional glass window is to transmit light to your office or residential building. Smart glass windows transmit as much light as the traditional window but it also provides your house or office with various other benefits that the traditional windows lack. With these windows, you will be able to bask in the sunshine and enjoy the outside view whenever you want and you can change the light transmittance with just the push of a button.

  • Highly Versatile

  • Smart glass windows are known for their highly versatile nature. There was a time when people were sceptical of them and hesitated to equip their houses or offices with them but it’s not the case anymore. It has made its way into almost every place you can think of thanks to the numerous benefits it brings to the table.

Applications of smart glass

There are a number of places in which smart glass windows are being used but you might not have noticed because it’s hard to differentiate a smart glass window from a traditional window. So here are some places where you might have seen smart glass windows in use:

  • Smart glasses are most commonly used as an electric curtain for maintaining the temperature inside your house by controlling the amount of sunlight coming inside.
  • It is used as the glass enclosure of conference halls to enhance privacy. It gets cloudy when the conference hall is being used and gets transparent when it’s idle.
  • One another innovative way of using smart glasses is in the form of advertising. When the glass is opaque an advertisement can be displayed on it.
  • In some countries, it is being used as the walls of a restroom which turns cloudy when it is occupied.

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