Glazing Material for Solar and Architectural Applications

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This report summarizes five collaborative research projects on glazings performed by participants in Subtask C of IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (SHC) Task 10, Materials Research and Testing. The projects include materials characterization, optical and thermal measurements, and durability testing of several types of new glazings. Three studies were completed on electrochromic and dispersed liquid crystals for smart windows, and two were completed for low-E coatings and transparent insulation materials for more conventional window and wall applications. In the area of optical switching materials for smart windows, the group developed more uniform characterization parameters that are useful to determine lifetime and performance of electrochromics. The detailed optical properties of an Asahi (Japan) prototype electrochromic window were measured in several laboratories. A one square meter array of prototype devices was tested outdoors and demonstrated significant cooling savings compared to tinted static glazing. Three dispersed liquid crystal window devices from Taliq (USA) were evaluated. In the off state, these liquid crystal windows scatter light greatly. When a voltage of about 100 V ac is applied, these windows become transparent. Undyed devices reduce total visible light transmittance by only .25 when switched, but this can be increased to .50 with the use of dyed liquid crystals. A wide range of solar-optical and emittance measurements were made on low-E coated glass and plastic. Samples of pyrolytic tin oxide from Ford glass (USA) and multilayer metal-dielectric coatings from Interpane (Germany) and Southwall (USA) were evaluated. In addition to optical characterization, the samples were exposure-tested in Switzerland. The thermal and optical properties of two different types of transparent insulation materials were measured. Samples of the polycarbonate honeycomb (supplied by Arel in Israel) and monolithic aerogel (supplied by Airglass in Sweden) were evaluated. Discrepancies in the round robin thermal measurements for the honeycomb material pointed out some measurement problems due to different equipment and procedures used. Overall, these glazing studies were successful in improving the understanding and use of advanced glazings. Follow-on work on most of these glazings will be continued in the new IEA SHC Task 18, Advanced Glazing Materials.

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