From Clear to Opaque, Smart Window Will Change Transparency at the Click of a Button

By: | September 7th, 2017

Smart window

Image by Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy on Youtube

In the future, you will not need curtains or blinds for your windows!

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a type of “smart window” that will transform from transparent to opaque with just a touch of a button. They are made of conductive glass plates outlined with metal ions that spread over the surface. The windows sandwich a sheet of electrochromic materials between two glass panes.

Applying an electric current causes a chemical reaction, blocking over 95 percent of light.

This dimmable glass technology already existed.

Windows of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner can be transformed from transparent to a very dark blue color with a touch of a button. But these windows use a lot of electricity, draining scarce electrical power onboard.

The old technology uses expensive tungsten oxide and can take up to 20 minutes to change color. Also, the quality degrades with the passage of time, making the windows less and less opaque.

The new invention offers an improved solution.

  • The new glass requires no power to maintain its state–unlike the windows of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It just needs a little electricity to switch from one state to another.
  • It takes only 30 seconds to switch from transparent to dark or vice versa.
  • These windows feature a more neutral color and do not degrade with time.
  • Since these windows don’t use expensive materials, they are cheaper to make.
  • To test durability, the researchers switched the windows on and off more than 5,000 times without any degradation in the opacity levels.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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