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Earth News Science Technology

New Metallic Glass Creates Potential For Smart Windows 43

frank249 writes: A B.C. engineering lab has created metal-coated glass that transmits up to 10 per cent more light than conventional glass and opens the door to windows that function as electronics. The most immediate use of the technology is to create windows that can be programmed to absorb or reflect heat, depending on the needs of a building's occupants. Adding electronic control to windows will allow you to change the amount of light and heat passing through to more effectively use the energy provided by the sun naturally, Lead investigator Kenneth Chau credit films like Iron Man or Star Trek with providing them inspiration. "There is a dream that we can make glass smarter," he said. "These films give us concepts to strive for; the hard work is uncovering the science to make it happen." All those hours spent watching Star Trek are now starting to look like a "pretty good investment," he said. The results were published this week in the journal Scientific Reports.
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New Metallic Glass Creates Potential For Smart Windows

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  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday February 13, 2016 @02:34AM (#51499331)

    "opens the door to windows" ?

  • No thanks. I'd prefer my phone have an occasional chance of picking up a signal instead.

  • by fph il quozientatore ( 971015 ) on Saturday February 13, 2016 @04:24AM (#51499495) Homepage
    I don't care, I am a Linux user.
  • by WoOS ( 28173 ) on Saturday February 13, 2016 @05:19AM (#51499557)

    Given that normal (one-pane) glas has a transmittance of about 90% [wikipedia.org] that would mean there was basically no reflection or absorption left and nearly all light would have to pass undisturbed. Quite some claim which I cannot find justified by the paper where the closest thing to glass I can find is Silicion Nitride [wikipedia.org] (which apparently starts with only 80% transmittance [nature.com]) and even for that they only show a 6% increase and only postulate that 10% (for silicon nitride) might be theoretically possible.

    Obviously another case of journalists hyping science results (without even switching on their own brain).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2016 @07:04AM (#51499739)

      Transmittence for glass used in commercial buildings (the kind this article talking about) is actually much lower than regular old standard strength glass. More like 80%. So an extra 10% on top of that is only 88%. Quite dooable. It's "transmits up to 10 per cent more light than conventional glass (in that particular field)". A bit misleading, but not too bad imho.

    • I'm not claiming that the journalists got it right, but there is such a thing as an anti-reflective coating. It's routinely put on glasses to reduce reflections.

      At least on the face of it, it's possible that the metallic glass can form an anti-reflective coating on the windows.

      Reducing reflections isn't hard at all, in fact, it's done routinely.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      --PM

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday February 13, 2016 @11:46AM (#51500385) Homepage Journal

      That is one of those Wikipedia articles which is a bit vague about what it means. It's doesn't make sense to intend to say that glass transmits 90% of incident light regardless of the thickness. The Wikipedia entry references a single optical "element", so I'd take "the transmissivity of one element (two surfaces) is about 90%," to mean that 10% is the lower limit of light loss for a single lens of arbitrary thinness.

      Now if a very thin silica glass lens transmits 90% of the light falling on it, then clearly it'd be very difficult to conceive of a material that transmits 10% more light than that. However you can achieve whatever level of attenuation you wish by making your piece of glass sufficiently (possibly absurdly) thick. The three inch thick glass panes used in giant ocean tanks are noticeably more opaque than air. Clearly it's physically possible for a material to transmit 10% more light than the same thickness of glass -- for a sufficient thickness. Particularly if the index of refraction of that material is closer to air.

      Of course that's where we get to the point that the summary is badly written too. Silica glass *is* very transparent; insufficient transparency isn't a problem in window applications, if there's a problem it's that the material is too transparent. That's why we have dark tinting and anti-IR coating. So it's not clear why we would care that the material can transmit 10% more light. Clearly the story got garbled somewhere along the way.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Saturday February 13, 2016 @06:37AM (#51499693) Homepage Journal

    Can it be used to make nuclear wessels?

  • At least they also invented the wheel.

    Granted, it's a stone wheel with foot pegs, but you have to start somewhere.

  • by cellocgw ( 617879 ) <cellocgw.gmail@com> on Saturday February 13, 2016 @12:05PM (#51500447) Journal

    It's not "metallic glass," which describes (or should) a metal that's cooled fast enough not to be able to form a crystalline structure -- see also "metal ceramics." It's "metallized glass," which is the correct description of putting a layer of something on top of glass.

    I also find it hard to believe that the quoted researcher said that glass is a crystal, since it isn't.

  • by Krokus ( 88121 ) on Saturday February 13, 2016 @12:41PM (#51500591) Homepage

    “Glass is a crystalline structure that is fairly transparent, but not completely, you can still see it."

    Um... noooo, glass is a glass, denoted by its lack of a crystalline structure unless you're talking about devitrified glass, which is typically too weak to use in any practical application.

  • If only someone would get around to inventing Slow Glass. Then we could have the sunlight coming in our houses after dark, warming the house (in cold weather) when it needs it the most. Or with a sufficient thickness of Slow Glass, we could have the summer sunlight coming in during the winter.

    If you haven't heard of Slow Glass, try searching for the subject line.

  • Synthetic Aluminum ? :)

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