Frequently Asked Questions

What is Switchable Privacy Glass?

Smart glass, also known as switchable glass and privacy glass, is essentially a laminated glass that switches between frosted/ opaque to clear, offering privacy on-demand. Smart glass allows for daylight to get through, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

What can Privacy Glass do?

Smart glass / switchable glass is a glass whose light transmission properties are altered when voltage is applied. Our smart glass is clear when it is turned On; and opaque/frosted when it is turned Off.

What is switchable glass made of?

Smart glass is made by laminating switchable film between two panes of glass.

How does Smart Glass work?

Smart glass is powered by electrical current. When the power is off, the molecules are all jumbled up; leaving the smart glass frosted or opaque. When the electrical current is applied, all the molecules align upright, turning the smart glass clear.

What are the main benefits of switchable glass?

There are many benefits, but the biggest advantage is being able to protect your privacy whenever you want. We call it privacy on-demand. Not only is it durable, economical to run and easy to maintain, smart glass allows for partitioned areas to have multiple uses through the solution it provides. It eliminates the need for curtains or blinds, thus giving the space a clean, aesthetically pleasing and streamlined look.

Is Switchable Glass battery powered or electrical?

Smart glass runs off a low voltage power supply. We supply a power control unit with a remote control as standard as well as run off a standard light switch. It can also be integrated into home automation systems such as LT Smart®, Crestron, Lutron and Control4.

How much electricity does Smart Glass use?

It uses 6w per square metre; 10 sqm would be the equivalent of a 100w light bulb. We estimate that this would cost about £10 a year to run.

When turned on, is Smart Glass as optically clear as normal glass?

As part of the material makeup, there is always a haze associated with switchable glass. This reduces its normal transparency by 8-10%. However, this percentage can be reduced further by the type of room lighting used. LED ambient lighting is the best and we are happy to advise further on this.

Can you see out of privacy glass when it is frosted or turned off?

When the glass is frosted, you cannot see through it. You may be able to see shadows when the items or people come close by.

Can Smart Glass be used as a rear projection screen?

A Switchable Smart Glass projection screen is smart glass frosted (turned off). It serves as a rear projection in its frosted mode. If your glass is already in place, we can offer you our switchable smart film as the perfect solution. Apart from offering privacy on-demand, switchable glass turns any window, shop front glass or office partition into a digital screen through the use of any high-quality projector. This is ideal for office presentations, office social/ sporting events, shop front digital advertising and more.

Can Switchable Glass protect us from UV rays?

Smart/ switchable glass blocks 99% of UV rays when natural light filters through. It also reduces the risk of damage to soft furnishings and colours fading.

Is switchable glass a blackout solution?

Unfortunately, no. Although it reduces the amount of light by approximately 25%, it is not a blackout solution.

Can you get Smart Glass in any shape or size?

Privacy glass can be made into any shape. As with any material, there are maximum and minimum sizes. For example, the maximum width is 1.8m; we recommend a maximum height of 2.9m.

What can Switchable Glass be used for?

The application for switchable glass is bespoke and countless. These include office partitioning, quality HD projection screens, meeting rooms, boardrooms, showcase, pod offices, gym entrances, exterior windows, viewing galleries, bathroom/bedroom divides, home office, rooflights, skylights, bifold doors, partition screens and more. Architects and designers often find new innovative ways of interior and exterior applications.

Can you put Switchable Glass on doors?

Yes! Priviglaze have worked hard to perfect this installation. We are able to offer both frameless and framed switchable glass doors.

How much does Smart Glass cost?

Depending on the application and specification, the cost per square meter can vary from £450 to £550.

Can I purchase a sample?

Yes. We have A5 smart glass samples and other sizes available for purchase. Get in touch about a sample today.

What is Smart Film?

Smart film is also known as Switchable film. Smart film allows for light transmission controlled by electrical current, to switch from clear to opaque/ frosted. It is used in the manufacturing process of laminated smart glass. We also supply the latest generation smart film product that can be applied to existing glass panels.

What are the differences between Smart Glass and Smart Film application?

The visual effects for both are the same. We always recommend smart glass for installation, but certain projects require smart film application over their existing glass structure. If you are unsure which is the right product for you, we are happy to advise the best solution for your project. We also supply these products to approved partners and contractors.

How we check the quality of glass?

Inside the house or office stand around 3 metres back from the glass. You must ensure that the test is carried out in daylight but not in direct sunlight. The area which you are checking is the whole window with the exception of a 50mm (approx. 2”) wide band round the edge.

Viewing distance – A minimum viewing distance of 2.0 metres is to be used. Toughened, laminated or coated glass should be viewed from 2.0 metres.
Viewing position – A direct 90 degree viewing position.
Viewing aids – No visual aids other than spectacles for normal visual correction shall be used.

What are the GGF acceptable glass quality standards?

The UK Glass and Glazing Federation’s Acceptable Glass Quality Standards defines the level of acceptance for visible distortions in clear, tinted and coated glass, in sealed double glazing units and in single glazed panels.
It’s important to know that a totally flawless piece of glass is extremely rare by the nature of its organic components and manufacturing process.
Laminated glass
Multi-layered glass, for example when two or more panels are laminated together, will increase the likely observance of visible distortions as the cumulative effect of each of the panels needs to be taken into consideration. Toughened, laminated or coated glass should be viewed from 2.0 metres. Coating on glass, in particular solar control coatings, increase the reflective property of the glass and this can make the visual distortions more noticeable even though there is no more distortion present.
Glass with acceptable minor imperfections
All glass supplied should be as free as possible from defects caused in manufacture, handling, storage and transit. However, the customer shall accept glass with minor imperfections provided they fall within the scope of the following definitions and acceptance criteria. Glass which falls within these quality standards is not considered to be faulty goods.

What are the the terms used to describe glass quality?

Edge Zone: A zone parallel to the edge of the glass, which extends round the perimeter of the glass, and is normally within the glazing frame or area.
Viewing Area: The area of the glass lying between the critical area and the Edge zone.
Scratch: A long narrow surface flaw produced by a hard object, e.g. grit, which produces a perceptible depression.
Sleek: A fine scratch with no perceptible depression.
Bubble: Small holes partially or wholly enclosed by glass which normally contain air. These may be spherical or non-spherical depending on the mode of formation.
Inclusion: Insoluble matter retained within or on the surface of the glass during manufacture.
Scar: A scratch which is obtrusively visible being normally white in colour.

When is a glass effect acceptable?

Minor defects/imperfections are to be accepted if they fall into the categories below:

Defects within Viewing Area
Scratches and streaks which are not visible when examined as specified in Method of visual Inspection are to be accepted. Bubbles and inclusions not greater than 2.5mm are acceptable provided such defects are at least 200mm apart. Seeds, blisters, hairlines or blobs are acceptable if they are no greater than 2.5mm. White scars are not acceptable.

Defects in Edge Zone
Scratches, streaks, bubbles, inclusions and scars are acceptable.

Condensation Patterning
Contaminates are often present on the surface of glass and are normally invisible to the naked eye. If condensation forms on the glass surface then the contamination becomes more apparent by influencing the rate of formation and appearance of the moisture. The variation in appearance maybe random or present itself in distinctive patterns. Fingerprints are the most common contaminate which creates a hydrophobic layer that can produce these effects. Window cleaning chemicals or degreasing agents are normally enough to remove most contaminates. The pattern formed by condensation on glass surfaces do not, therefore indicate any fault, nor do they have any effect on the performance of the glass and are considered acceptable.

Optical Phenomena
Roller wave distortion occurs as glass passes over the rollers in horizontal, oscillating heat treatment furnace. As the glass heats up, it may sag between the rollers at the reversal of each oscillation, which then becomes set in place during the cooling process. This may produce roller wave distortion in the finished product. Roller wave distortion can create a reflection in heat treated glass that can stretch and compress based on the observer’s movement in relation to the glass surface.

Brewster’s Fringes occur when wavelengths of light meet when they are exactly 180 degrees out of phase and is a result of modern glass manufacturing methods.

Edge Bow occurs as a result of the heat treatment process and can be reduced through the correct control of the heating and cooling processes.

Distortions are an inherent characteristic of glass and there are currently no Industry Standards relating to the acceptability of levels of distortions with the exception of bow, which is determined in EN12150.

Nickel Sulphide Inclusion
Nickel Sulphide Inclusion (NIS) is a naturally occurring phenomenon in toughened glass. Glass can be heat soaked which reduces the risk of NIS but this cannot guarantee to eliminate it completely.

Switchable Glass
In addition to the general guidelines above, the following matters should be borne in mind when ordering switchable blink glass. Very small bubbles and/or visual distortion may be present on clear/non switchable areas around notches/holes/cut outs, therefore a provision must be made for coverage of 10mm around all notches/holes/cut outs. Bubbles and distortion of this nature are acceptable. An element of haze is present in all smart type LCD switchable privacy glass products, even in its transparent state. The level of haze must be checked before ordering as haze will not be accepted as a defect.

More questions? Ask us today

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