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News

Reflecting titanium dioxide pigment could transform greenhouse film performance

Huntsman Advanced Materials (Basel) : 14 October, 2013  (Application Story)
New research indicates that Huntsman's Altiris infra-red reflecting pigment can improve the performance of polyethylene (PE) greenhouse film to provide improved growing conditions.
Reflecting titanium dioxide pigment could transform greenhouse film performance
Altiris has been engineered by crystal size modification of rutile titanium dioxide to give high infrared reflectance. The pigment is coated with dense silica to make it exceptionally durable. Recent laboratory-controlled tests and field testing in Turkey now show that the pigment also has the potential to deliver benefits to commercial growers who use agricultural PE film for their greenhouses.
 
Greenhouses need a careful balance of light, heat and humidity for strong plant growth. Visible light from the sun must enter the structure to promote photosynthesis and UV light needs to be transmitted through the PE film so that bees can see flowers for pollination.
 
Greenhouses also need moderate infrared transmission to keep plants warm. Problems occur – especially in sunny climates – when too much heat from the sun’s infrared energy enters the greenhouse. A very hot interior means some plants will wither and struggle to flourish.
 
A 50 micron polyethylene greenhouse film containing a one per cent loading of Altiris pigment is now being tested in field conditions near Istanbul in Turkey. The greenhouse using PE film containing the pigment is being tested alongside a greenhouse using 50 micron PE film without. Monitoring equipment has been installed inside both greenhouses to track temperature, solar intensity and humidity.
 
So far the test results indicate that when Altiris pigment is used in 50 micron greenhouse PE film it reflects infrared energy. The resulting reduced interior temperature helps keep relative humidity levels high to prevent plants from losing moisture.
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