Ceramic Industry

CERAMIC INNOVATIONS: A Solar Control Revolution

April 1, 2008
New UV-inhibiting window films based on ceramic materials are being used to prevent solar energy from driving up cooling costs and damaging skin and surfaces.

The window film industry, particularly in the residential market, has long been impeded by a seemingly insurmountable obstacle-how to eliminate solar energy gain without introducing color or reflectivity into the laminate. Homeowners who wish to stabilize interior temperatures and protect their family and furnishings from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays have always had to compromise aesthetics for comfort and safety.

While some consumers have been willing to make this trade, many have not. The reluctance of property owners to live with dyed, tinted or reflective windows has slowed the adoption of a high-value material that has been proven to reduce energy consumption and UV damage. Each year, solar control film makers have introduced products that have been slightly lighter in color or marginally less reflective, but these incremental improvements have not been enough to thrust the industry forward.

A Ceramic Solution

After months of research and experimentation, Madico, Inc. has developed a high-performance, UV-inhibiting, ceramic-based material that does not compromise visual acuity for the homeowner.* The new material has very little reflection compared to films manufactured using traditional metals.

The ceramic material-in this case, titanium nitride-is deposited on a polyester base film using sputter deposition, which is a method of depositing thin coatings by sputtering a block of source material onto a substrate. Sputtered atoms ejected into the gas phase are not in their thermodynamic equilibrium state and tend to deposit on all surfaces in the vacuum chamber. A substrate placed in the sputtering chamber is therefore coated with a thin film of the sputtered material. After the sputtering phase, the films can be laminated to other polyester layers and scratch-resistant coatings are applied. The films are then installed on glass by professional dealers using a mild soap solution.

*Madico Advanced CeramicsTM (MACTM)

Clear Benefits

As any manufacturer knows, consumers don’t care how a product is made, they only want to know what it does. And the new films do exactly what consumers have long demanded-they prevent solar energy from driving up cooling costs, and stop solar rays from damaging skin and surfaces without dramatically affecting the appearance of the windows.

The new films reject up to 61% of the total solar energy while still providing a clear view of the outside world. In fact, homeowners have said that the difference between traditional window films and the new films is like the difference between analog and high-definition television signals.

Of course, film clarity is just one the consumer demands. Homeowners also require that their solar control films meet rigorous performance standards. To this end, the new films block 99% of harmful UV rays, provide superior infrared rejection, boast extremely low reflectivity and dramatically reduce glare.

Since introducing the new film line less than a year ago, Madico has overtaken competitors in the premium solar control window film sector. The company continues to unveil new members of the film family, which now also includes ceramic-based materials designed for commercial and automotive applications.

For more information, contact Madico, Inc., 64 Industrial Parkway, Woburn, MA 01801; (800) 225-1926; fax (781) 935-6841; or visit www.madico.com.