How to get window film optical & thermal properties with different glass substrates?

Related services Glass optical & thermal properties

Typically, window film optical & thermal properties are tested with 3 – 6 mm clear or low-iron glasses as the substrate. Window film properties obtained with such high transparency glass substrates are more appropriate for product performance rating purposes.

In real buildings, window film products can be attached to all possible glass substrate types, such as tinted glasses, low-e coated glasses, laminated glasses, and double glazing units (DGUs). There are two methods to get window film optical & thermal properties with different glass substrates, as described below.

Option 1: direct physical test method

With the direct physical test method, the window film shall be attached to the actual glass substrate to be used. The whole glass system with window film is tested as usual.

This method is recommended for most applications, with a small number of glass substrate types.

Option 2: physical test + calculation method

With the physical test + calculation method, the following glasses need to be tested (based on the NFRC 304 method):

  1. Window film on a reference glass substrate (typically a 3 – 6 mm clear or low iron glass)
  2. The reference glass substrate (without window film)
  3. Other glass substrates

With the test results of glasses 1 & 2, the window film only optical data can be calculated. The window film only optical data can then be added to all glass substrates tested in step 3 to get the combined glass with window film optical & thermal properties.

This method is recommended for product development applications, with a large number of glass substrate types.

What is the difference between solar energy transmittance and SHGC?

Related services Glass optical & thermal properties

As shown above, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) consists of two components:

  • Primary solar heat gain: the solar heat directly transmitted through a glass in its original solar radiation form.
  • Secondary solar heat gain: the solar heat absorbed by a glass and further transferred to the indoor space as heat and via all 3 heat transfer modes (conduction, connection and radiation)

The primary solar heat gain component is just the solar energy transmittance of the glass.

The secondary solar heat gain component is calculated as the solar energy absorptance of the glass multiplied by its inward flowing fraction. The solar heat absorbed by the glass causes a temperature increase of the glass. The absorbed solar heat flows to either the indoor side or the outdoor side. The fraction flowing to the indoor side is the inward flowing fraction.

For example, for a glass with 30% solar energy transmittance, 20% solar energy absorptance and 0.25 inward flowing fraction:

  • Its primary solar heat gain is 30%: 30% of the overall solar energy is directly transmitted to the indoor space
  • Its secondary solar heat gain is 20% × 0.25 = 5%: 20% of the overall solar energy is absorbed by the glass and 0.25 fraction of it is transmitted to the indoor space;
  • Its SHGC is therefore 30% + 5% = 35% or 0.35.

In summary:

SHGC = primary solar heat gain + secondary solar heat gain

Primary solar heat gain = Solar energy transmittance
Secondary solar heat gain = solar energy absorptance × inward flow fraction

Solar energy transmittance and SHGC are different. Solar energy transmittance is the primary solar heat gain component of SHGC only. The SHGC of a glass is always greater than its solar energy transmittance.

OTM Insights Newsletter: Issue 5

Our newsletter OTM Insights Issue 5 was sent to our customer on 27 Jul 2020. We are sharing some technical insights of accuracy of glass optical & thermal property test results in the newsletter. Click the image to read the full newsletter.

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OTM Insights Newsletter: Issue 4

Our newsletter OTM Insights Issue 4 was sent to our customer on 27 Apr 2020. We are sharing some technical insights of optical & thermal property test of glasses from existing buildings in the newsletter. Click the image to read the full newsletter.

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