Glass is one of the most sustainable building materials. Its versatility allows ecological architecture to use it directly or by recycling it as an ingredient for the manufacture of tiles and covering materials for different surfaces.
Indeed, in addition to being considered an eco-friendly construction material, new inventions have multiplied its green benefits in other areas. In this post we are going to look at four innovations that can make a big difference through transformation.
New initiatives are constantly emerging to get more out of glass. Some of them are already a reality, and the truth is that they are surprising. At AgroCorrn we bring you 4 inventions that make glass even more ecological .
- An almost unbreakable glass
- Improve the performance of solar panels
- Against heat and radiation
- Recycled glass tiles
An almost unbreakable glass
Can you imagine glass almost as strong as steel ? It is not necessary to imagine it, simply because it is a reality. It was just invented by Japanese researchers.
Its resistance is such that it can be said that it is an unbreakable glass . They are hoping to commercialize the technique in the near future. Doing so will mean glass durability never seen before. In other words, it would become an even greener option.
It would also expand its applications, since placing that glass would be synonymous with building a wall. More so, actually, since its resistance would exceed that of a conventional wall. In addition, it would have many other uses, and in principle they see a future as a hardener for windshield glass.
Or, for example, the screens of mobile devices such as digital tablets or smartphones. Beyond the world of electronics, if costs get cheaper, they can have a great future as a building material.
The substance that achieves the miracle is alumina, an oxide of aluminum, mixed with silicon dioxide. His great achievement has been to make it happen, after countless failed attempts. For these researchers from the University of Tokyo there were no problems of adhesion to the walls of the containers when synthesizing the chemical components in the air.
Improve the performance of solar panels
Improving the performance of solar cells is one of the great challenges that science does not abandon. Although this time it all came about by chance, a team of American scientists has created a new type of glass that could have a thousand and one uses, including improving the efficiency of solar panels. The find was a great surprise. By doing optical experiments with glass vapor they managed to create this revolutionary glass. It was formed by superimposing several thin layers of vapor of organic molecules. Result: a promising material that could improve the performance of electronic devices, LED light emitting diodes and the aforementioned solar cells.
Another invention has been the result of the joint work of the Tecnalia company and the University of Cantabria in the Sunglass project, where they have developed a new glass designed to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic systems.
Its objective is to promote renewable energy in the construction sector. Their goal is to exceed 15 percent of the current average performance of current panels.
Curiously, the way to achieve this is not by improving the semiconductor material to take better advantage of the solar spectrum. His approach is based on the “frequency conversion” produced in glass coated with photoactive compounds. Or, what is the same, it is based on the absorption of photons of certain frequencies to, later, emit another range of frequencies.
Its implementation in the glass that covers the solar panels would achieve a greater capacity to absorb high frequency radiation. In this way, it would be issued at more effective ranges, thereby increasing its efficiency by up to 3 percent.
Against heat and radiation
Another type of glass, this time designed in the shape of a sandwich. Its thickness is due to the strategic placement inside of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) blocking radiation and solar heat without reducing luminosity.
By inserting these compounds (the butyral sheets wrap a film) it is possible to filter part of the infrared without preventing the transmission of light .
Its application in facades that are completely made of glass can mean a very important saving in air conditioning, which is both economically and ecologically interesting. It is obvious, on the other hand, that its application would not be suitable in cold places.
Recycled glass tiles
The recycled glass is a material increasingly used in construction. It is generally used after repeated recycling for other uses that require a raw material in better condition.
When it is considered not suitable for another type of reuse, glass admits a very interesting process to make tiles or other types of coating. Of course, the glass should be of local origin to be considered really eco-friendly and, otherwise, as can be seen in the images, the effect is similar to terrazzo and even marble.
The Dexterra company has developed this procedure with the use of a patented cement binder, subjecting the result to a final polish that gives it its characteristic shine.
But is it totally ecological? It is in comparative terms. Although cement and energy are used for its production, it could come from renewable sources. And, in any case, little is needed for its preparation. In short, the carbon footprint is not burdensome.
If you want to read more articles similar to 4 inventions that make glass even more ecological , we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category .
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