Glass innovations

Glass is a material used in nearly all buildings. New technologies are being developed that have created new uses for glass.

Electrochromic glass

Electrochromic glass comprises of double or triple glaze panels and metal-oxide coating. A low voltage current controls the metal oxide shifting it from a dark to a light state. Sensors monitor the light conditions. In bright sunlight the glass is changed to become darker, filtering the sun’s rays to make it more comfortable for the building’s occupants.

Solar glass

Clear View Power Glass, developed by Ubiquitous Energy in California, is transparent but can also generate electricity. This glass incorporates organic materials that absorb the sun’s energy. They do not produce as much energy as standard photovoltaic panels, but the glass can be used on much larger areas of a building.

3D printed glass

The G3DP project at MIT media Lab in Massachusetts is developing 3D printed glass techniques to create complex glass structures of any shape and colour. They are looking at embedding optical fibres in glass that can transmit data through light.

The G3DP team are also researching methods of printing glass that distribute water and air around buildings.

Curved glass

Traditionally glass used in buildings has been flat, but glass can also be bent. Durable coatings have been developed that improve the performance of curved glass to make it more robust. Curved glass is more expensive to produce but it can make a building look exceptional.

Gorilla glass

Conventional glass is fragile. Gorilla glass is a tough material that was developed to protect smartphone and tablets screens from breaking when dropped. It is now being used in building interiors. Its lightweight and scratch proof qualities can be used to cover and protect surfaces such as lift walls.

New technologies are making the ancient material of glass more useful.

Posted by Matt Hughes
November 4, 2015
Features

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