Researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR) in Singapore have developed a new glass coating that rejects infrared light, but transmits visible light. Infrared light waves generate heat and can cause buildings to consume more energy. According to the researchers, the coating will be of most use in equatorial countries, which receive the greatest amount of full-spectrum light exposure.
The coating blocks most infrared light waves, which means that it could virtually eliminate solar heat gain on coated windows. That would translate into a significant reduction in energy consumption, which is the largest operating cost associated with buildings in areas that are close to the equator.
The coating consists of tin-oxide particles that are doped with small amounts of antimony. The scientists varied the concentration of antimony throughout the coating to optimize infrared rejection. Currently, the experimental formulation blocks about 90% of infrared light waves, while admitting 80% of visible light.
Commercial coatings that use tin-oxide and antimony are already on the market, but the ASTAR researchers used antimony particles that are about half the size of the commercially available coatings, and varied the particle concentrations to improve infrared light control.
An added benefit of this formulation is that it may be possible to add the coating to windows that are already installed. The ability to add the coating as an after-market process could help older buildings reduce their energy costs without the expense of complete window or architectural glass replacement.
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