The best of both worlds, is how Toon Sanders of NNO Coatings describes a new development in glass. As a European agent of patented nanotechnology from the American company C-Bond Systems, Toon has been swamped for weeks. There is plenty of interest in the innovative nanotechnology that's already being used in the automotive sector and is now being fully tested for greenhouse horticulture applications.
The nano liquid is an invention of the Nanotechnology Dept. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. "The liquid penetrates the glass and repairs imperfections that are inherent in float glass. Because the liquid becomes one with the glass it cannot be damaged or wear off, and a one-off treatment is sufficient. By reinforcing glass on the outside with the nano liquid, the glass is more resistant to weather that can cause damage", Toon explains.
But why the best of both worlds? "The float glass can be cut to size and then treated with glass reinforcement or first treated and then cut to size. This allows fast delivery after window damage. The treated glass has the advantage that the breaking pattern is more like that of float glass, so that damage doesn't immediately lead to large holes in the greenhouse, as is the case with tempered glass."
Of course every percentage of light in greenhouse horticulture is very important and so you hear growers immediately think: what does that nanotechnology do with light transmission? Toon: "The nanotech product makes the glass slightly smoother. This can have a positive influence on the light transmission. Hemispheric light measurements are still being carried out to get more clarity about this."
Apply to new and existing glass
And the price? "This is expected to be slightly higher than the prices of standard float glass. However, treated glass will be cheaper than tempered glass."
In addition to testing light transmission, they are also investigating how the nanotech product can be applied to the greenhouse deck. "At the moment, possibilities are being explored for applying the nano liquid to existing greenhouses by means of a greenhouse deck cleaner." Meanwhile, discussions are continuing with glass suppliers to supply treated glass.