What Is Smart Film And How Does It Work?
If you’ve heard about smart film, chances are you’ve heard about how it’s revolutionising commercial buildings and office spaces around the world. With the click of a button, you can switch from transparent to opaque glass and have complete control over your privacy, lighting and more.
In this article, we’ll discuss all there is to know about smart film and why it’s become a necessity for businesses big and small.
What is Smart Film?
Smart film, also sometimes known as privacy film or switchable film, is a laminate layer that can be installed on pre-existing glass, plexi glass or any kind of smooth, clear surface to control its visibility and the amount of light that travels through it.
What this means is that a traditionally transparent material such as glass can be instantly switched between remaining transparent and becoming translucent or opaque through a simple switch. When frosted, smart film blocks up to 97% of light from coming through and offers premium privacy, security and light control. It’s most commonly used on surfaces such as doors, windows, office partitions and skylights.
How Does it Work?
While it may sound complicated, the way smart film works is simple and ingenious. What it’s made from is known as Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal or PDLC, which is microcrystal droplets that are then placed in between sheets of polymer.
For smart film products, the crystals refract light that allows for the glass to appear opaque or translucent rather than transparent. Then, when switched on, the crystals polarise and light can travel through them again. Smart film products are uniformly low voltage, using an average of only 5 watts an hour per square. This means that they’re energy-efficient and green, barely contributing to the emissions of your building and helping you stay on track for your sustainability goals.
What Are The Benefits of Smart Film?
There are many reasons to install smart film in your business or commercial building, making it incredibly popular throughout all kinds of industries. Some of the most common reasons to install smart film include:
- Maintain privacy when needed
- Boosts security by adding a 0.4 mm thick layer to your glass or doors
- Make use of your glass partitions
- Block out dangerous UV rays
- Adjust lights for specific tasks at hand
- Project video or images onto glass
How is it Installed?
Once you place your smart film order, it will be made to the exact size of your chosen surface and installed through a quick and easy stick and peel. Then, the electrical diodes are connected to your air conditioning circuit so that you can switch it on and off. The process as a whole is very easy and should only take a few hours.
When getting your glass film installed, make sure your expert protects your investment with edge sealing. This will stop water and other contaminants from seeping in between the film and your glass, which carries the risk of reducing its effectiveness and potentially wearing out its electrical components.
Smart Film vs. Smart Glass
If you’ve heard of smart film, chances are you might’ve heard of smart glass, too. While smart film is simply attached to an already existing surface, smart glass is a glass product that encases a PLDC material in between its two panes.
Because of this, if you want to install smart glass you’ll likely have to remove all the glass partitions, windows or doors you already had and replace them with new ones rather than just sticking smart film onto them. This makes it a more expensive and time-consuming process, which is why smart film tends to be the most popular option. However, if you’re building a project from scratch, smart glass might be an option worth exploring.