photochromic glass in a GH?

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)March 31, 2014

I'm sure such an idea would be cost-prohibitive for all but the richest gardener, but I'm wondering if such a thing is possible or has been done.

Using a photochromic glass (like used in self-darkening eyeglasses) for a greenhouse? Maybe even just on the roof panels. A glass that would darken on it's own at high light levels to reduce heat/light inside the GH.

This could be a more automated alternative to shadecloth that wouldn't reduce light levels at times when it was unnecessary or undesired (without having to have a system to draw back/remove and reinstall the shadecloth) such as during times of low sun angle or cloudy weather. Or it could just be appealing for the "not having to mess with it" factor.

Even a "thermophobic" glass (that darkens when a certain temp is reached) if it exists could do the same thing.

Say when light levels reach a certain lux level, the glass would darken to the equivalent of a 60% shade cloth (or whatever). Or if temps reach 90 degrees F, etc.

Mostly just something I'm brainstorming about - I doubt I'd ever do this myself.

Has anyone seen this done?

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nerdish11(7a)

Yes research is being conducted on this. I'll just let the website speak for its self. I found this very thing your talking about yesterday. I was doing a search for smart greenhouses.

Here is a link that might be useful: Liquid crystal glass greenhouse.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:43PM
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hex2006

Computer controlled variable-skin ETFE roofs have been around for a while which perform a similar task.
Multiple layers of ETFE film are printed with a pattern. The amount of inflation between the layers moves the individual patterns closer or further apart which varies the amount of light entering the building. ETFE film is very lightweight so it doesnt need as much supporting framework as regular glass and the panels can be a lot bigger. The multiple air filled cavities also serve to increase the insulation value of the glazing.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:37PM
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