More Trends from Glasstec
Glasstec has always been an awesome show from a product standpoint. In the last few years, and under the direction of Birgit Horn, the event has grown to include even more new technologies and their applications. It also now involves some of the best glazing-related academics in the world. In addition to seeing the latest in new products, the show makes it easy to glimpse the future, as well. So, against that backdrop, here are some of the up and coming trends I saw to watch for in the future.
More than an ounce of prevention: New technology is focused on very specific problems that commonly occur in glass. There was new quality measurement and roller wave machinery as well as special and more finely tuned scanners to detect nickel sulfide inclusions on the production line.
Beyond jumbo changes: While jumbo glass is here to stay, the desire for the largest and clearest vista is putting pressure on the additional components of the glass-metal façade. Large expanses of glass beget the desire for clear joints and clear adhesives, both of which were previewed.
Adhesives come of age: In addition to a focus on transparency, glasstec also put a spotlight on the science of the joint. You’ll see new advances in acrylic adhesives as well as layered bonding.
It’s not just in to be thin: It’s necessary as in thin and strong, or thin with incredible curves or both. New production processes have resulted in stronger, more flexible thinner glass. One of the goals? The development of thin all-glass hardware, which will complement those large glass expanses (see above) quite nicely.
Glass behaving badly: Just as we saw a lot of science devoted to sound transmission in the last decade, we will see an emphasis on glass behavior—not only when or why it breaks, but how it breaks and how to prevent the negative effects of such breakage (see prevention above).
Glass as a reality show: Glass is a main material necessary in the creation of virtual and augmented reality. Expect this usage to grow and for the glass used in such offerings to become even more sophisticated.
Glass that changes the equation: Just as the development of nano-coatings more than 30 years ago opened a new world of possible performance characteristics, so will some of the work now being done on glass with lower melting points and coefficients of expansion. Though not ideal for all applications, they might find a strong footing in the decorative world.
Glass in the real world: Expect more glass bridges and tunnels as glass continues its growth as an outdoor material. And as the ability to bend, double-bend and strengthen it expands, you’ll see it used in applications it never before would have been imagined (witness, the glass slide in 2016 and teeter-totter this year on display at the show).
Glass as an interactive material: We will interact with glass more and more as we are able change many of its characteristics, from color to operation, from energy use to energy storage, through apps in the Internet of Things.
Who needs Argon? We’ve got algae. That’s right, algae. The Institute of Building Construction at the Technische Universitat Dresden has developed a biomass project that includes a façade that looks like a typical double glazed one. The insulating glass is not filled with gas, however, but a liquid culture of microalgae. The photovoltaic organisms grow with the aid of solar energy, which is then captured and used.
Just another first at glasstec.