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GE Lexan solar control products limit heat yet let in high levels of light

GE Advanced Materials : 27 August, 2004  (New Product)
The first transparent polymer glazing to reduce interior heat buildup 25-40%, while maintaining highest levels of light transmission
GE Advanced Materials has introduced two new families of transparent, solar-control glazing products in solid sheet and multi-wall polycarbonate sheet that significantly reduce solar transmission while simultaneously offering high levels of light transmission, helping save energy costs for cooling and lighting buildings. The solid product is called Lexan Exell Solar Control IR sheet, and the multi-wall product is called Lexan Thermoclear Solar Control IR sheet. Both products are excellent candidates for roof domes, skylights, walkways, conservatories, and other building applications where it is desirable to admit high levels of light while keeping excess heat to a minimum. Additionally, the solid product is aimed at public transportation applications, such as train and bus glazing. No other thermal-management, polymer-based glazing provides both the level of effectiveness in blocking (absorbing) infrared (IR) heat and high transparency to visible light as these new GE materials.

Current architectural designs are increasingly calling for buildings that admit large amounts of natural light, for both aesthetics and to reduce energy for interior lighting. However, intensive use of glazing can lead to rapid interior heat build-up due to penetration of near-infrared radiation (solar transmission) through the glazing, especially in hot and sunny locales. This, in turn, can raise energy costs for cooling the building.

GE’s Lexan sheet can reduce interior heat build-up by 40% for lower energy usage, while increasing light transmission by as much as 60% compared to other glazing products. It has excellent flame resistance, building-code approval with EU and ICBO, and other high-performance properties.

Previous plastic solar-control glazing, the only available alternative, used a screen-printed coating or a co-extruded layer on one side of the sheet to absorb IR transmissions. However, the coating and co-extruded layer made such glazing translucent – at best – or opaque, greatly reducing light transmission. Architects who wanted to use plastic glazing had to choose between light transparency and solar control. They could not find both properties in one product unless they went back to solar-controlled glass.

GE’s new heat-management glazing makes use of an entirely new and different technology platform. Instead of being translucent or opaque as previous products, the Lexan Solar Control sheet materials are transparent with a green tint, which blocks near-infra-red heat but lets in high levels of light. Proprietary resin additives are used to manage heat instead of expensive and fragile coatings, which can be damaged during handling and installation. Because the additive technology is inherent to the polymer, solar control properties are permanent and also Lexan Solar Control IR sheet is UV protected on both sides, which can help installers reduce losses due to installation errors.

The new Lexan Solar Control IR sheet products are available in all standard gauges and dimensions. As with conventional solid sheet and multi-wall Lexan sheet, this new glazing offers outstanding design freedom due to its ability to be cold formed and/or thermoformed without losing impact or weathering properties. Both versions come with a 10-year written limited warranty against reduction of light or solar transmission properties, yellowing, and breakage due to hail impact.

“Lexan Solar Control IR sheet represents the next generation of heat-management glazing that our industry has been waiting for,” notes Laurent Cornu, product manager, Lexan Thermoclear Sheet, GE Advanced Materials. “Customers no longer have to make an either/or choice between good solar control and good light transparency. For the first time since glass, we have one material that does both, yet also provides all the advantages that Lexan sheet can offer over glass, such as superior lightweight strength, design freedom, and impact resistance. In the case of our new multi-wall sheet, we also offer the added insulation value.”

Explains Odin Wiersma, product manager, Lexan Solid Sheet, GE Advanced Materials, “The fact that our new Lexan sheet can reduce interior heat build-up by 40% for lower energy usage, while increasing light transmission by as much as 60% compared to other glazing products, is a huge leap forward for the building and construction industry. Add to that excellent flame resistance, building-code approval with EU and ICBO, and its other high-performance properties, and it becomes immediately clear that Lexan Solar Control IR sheet is a materials solution whose time has come,” Wiersma said.
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