Transparency is a good word. It is about clarity, but without letting down the guard. We want to look out and let others in but we still want a degree of control. It is also about flexibility and detail. We cannot work with an Architectural transparency with out due care for the way we deliver it. This month’s materials deliver detail, flexibility and transparency. They will also help push the creative boundaries.
This is one competitive, contradictory little material. It is a translucent material that also heats and cools the building: Infact the phase change element of the unit is as comparable as a 25cm think concrete skin in terms of the amount of heat it can store making it feasible to replace solid walls with glass elements. GlassX ®Crystal is a triple glazed unit: a tempered external glass panel with a light prism within: a gap filled with innert gas and a internal tempered internal glass with the pcm within it.
The shaded effect is facilitated during the Summer months by the encapsulated transparent prism that above a certain angle of incidence will reflect all the direct sunlight allowing only the diffuse, low energy rays within. The lower angle of sunlight during the Winter months remains unimpeded.
As a thermal moderator, the non toxic salt phase change membrane (pcm)melts into a liquid state at precisely 26 absorbing the thermal energy as the building warms up and recrystallizing as it cools down. The location of the pcm within this façade is integral to the thermal performance as it is able to absorb both the internal heat loads by convection and the external solar retaining an internal temperature of 26-28. Infact, an office building could exist in a passive state during the Winter months with the additional human radiant heat and energy from electrical appliance.
The only slight fallibility is that the light transmission is quite low compared to a standard glass façade: reaching up to 55% for liquid pcm and 38% for crystalline. However there is a diaphanous quality that spreads like a watercolour paint across a sheet of paper as the salt gently morphs into its altered state and it is very simple to add other glazed units to the design.
Country of Distribution: Switzerland
Size: Crystal is 79mm thick and max height 280mm and max width 250mm
Colour : translucent but may be changed using silk screen printing or additional coloured glass
Applications: External Facades
Crystal Clear Silicone
The devil they say is in the detail and this is small, powerful package is one little demon. It is usually not easy to get to get overexcited by bonding but the this new crystal clear high strength silicon adhesive (TSSA) from Dow Corning is a significant development in glass aesthetics. Quite simply it allows the glass to be fixed on one side without the need to penetrate the glass or laminated system providing a cleaner architectural solution. This is particularly useful for coloured interlayers, allowing the façade or balustrading colour to flow uninterrupted . Clearly, it has other functional advantages; enabling usage of high performance insulated glass and gas -filled IG units in a frameless glazing facade. TSSA has a10 times higher structural design load compared to standard structural glazing sealants and an in built safety indicator that alters the coloration to white if the structural loading is exceeded. The silicone will revert to transparent once the load is removed. The silicon is produced as a series of buttons applied to the structure and should be a very welcome new innovation to both the Architect and the Installer.
Country of Distribution: UK
Size: 1mm thick, available in 50mm buttons on cards, other sizes available on request
Colour : Crystal Clear
Applications: Point fixing for glass facades including curved and laminated glass, balustrades and interior decorative glass
Other: Design Strength is 1.3MPa for dynamic loads and 0.6MPa for static loads
Architecture just got lucky. The ceaseless demand for portable connection and its nascent technology is inadvertently creating new Architectural avenues. Gorilla Glass, currently used on over one billion electronic devices is now available for the likes of us. It is an ‘ultraglass’ – thin, strong, lightweight, damage resistant and visually superior. For example, when laminated and bent into a curve, the glass produces an undistorted reflect image; good news for those with body dysmorphia. Gorilla Glass is an alkali-aluminosilicate composition and it is this mineral composition combined with the ion- exchange process when placed in a 400C molten potassium salt bath that contributes to its toughness and scratch resistance. Part of the reason is that the larger potassium ions displace the sodium ions, producing a higher level of compressive strength by crunching up the atoms on the glass surface as it cools. Further more the glass may be laminated to various plastics or decorative surfaces for additional applications. Corning, the manufacturers behind Gorilla Glass just couldn’t help them selves though and Willow Glass, their latest glass innovation aimed primarily at OLED’ and LCD displays, s is produced in a continuous sheet similar to newsprint production. It is about 100 microns thick, similar to a piece of paper and delightfully bendy.
Country of Distribution: UK
Size: 2x1.5m and thicknesses from 0.55 to 1.5mm
Colour : Crystal Clear
Applications: interior include wall systems, area lighting panels, and lift walls and ceilings,, exterior building facades and overhead canopies, triple-glazed windows, hurricane windows and decorative glass wall structures
Now here’s a material to ruffle feathers – strictly speaking this oxymoron is a tin-catalyzed clear silicone rubber. In effect 2 liquids are mixed together and cured at room temperature overnight. The emergent form is a water clear rubber that can be easily broken or crumbled to resemble small shards of glass’ perfect for human intervention. Whilst it my not be easy to make the Design connection between ‘broken glass’ and the built environment, it is a master with regards to the creation of special effects such as simulating ice or glass. Infact, the compound can even be poured over other surfaces such as glass for greater design creativity. In certain cases the surface will inhibit curing but that can be overcome with a barrier coat of clear acrylic. There is something playful about this material. It may look dangerous but it instead of the bite you expect, it puckers up for a kiss.
Country of Distribution: USA
Size: Available in pot format
Colour : Clear
Applications: Special Effects from cast moulds to surface decoration