Pennsylvania Patent of the Month – April 2022

While a window with excellent, south-facing light exposure might brighten your room and make your plants happy, sometimes too much sun is simply too much sun. When you’re driving, when you’re sleeping, or when you need to face the window all day, you might want to limit this light. You can’t install curtains in a car though as you can’t obstruct your vision. Instead, most people use various coatings and films to block out a select amount of light without limiting visibility. Most of these solar control coatings dim the light and also limit the solar energy that enters the space so that a smaller amount of heat builds up. In other cases, the film might filter light in a way that allows you to see out but not in.

Sprayed-on coatings typically have a limited lifespan while a fused coating is more reliable. Traditional heat strengthened glass can be coated with the solar controller which has an absorber material included. This usually involves a relatively thick, continuous, infrared reflective metal layer which reflects the solar energy. This method typically ends up creating a hazy appearance after the high heat tempering process.

Vitro Flat Glass, LLC has developed a novel method for creating these heat strengthened glass that provides a clear, non-hazy final product. Their method continues to use a metal layer but replaces it with a discontinuous metal layer instead. The use of a discontinuous layer increases the visible light absorption of the coating. If the dielectric layers are a certain thickness, the coating can create an asymmetrical reflectance so that you can see in one direction and limit light the other way. The change in metallic layer results in a clear, solar controlled glass after tempering and even holds up over long periods of sun exposure.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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