Solar films come in many different types for use in overcoming a variety of problems caused by the sun and solar radiation.
Reflecta supplies and installs solar films for both Automobile tinting and Architectural installations for both residential homes and commercial premises.
Each film is designed for a specific use and it usually takes a consultation with an adviser to find the correct film for the problem you wish to address.
The most common uses of solar film are for the common problems of:
- Excessive heat
- Glare from a bright sun
- Fading of furniture, furnishings and artworks
- Privacy and daylight one way viewing
- UV or Infra Red protection
The Sun’s Energy
Sun light is made up of a vast array of light rays of different spectral wavelengths. We only see visible light which is a small section in the middle of the spectrum. What we do not see is the Ultra violet Light (UV) at wavelengths shorter than the visible light and infrared (IR) rays which have longer wavelengths. UV is responsible for damaging skin and causing sunburn and is responsible for much of the fading which occurs in dyed products and fabrics. Infra Red causes most of the heat energy and is responsible for how hot we get as well as contributing to fading by aiding the molecular structure changes of materials over time. When sun light passes through glass a certain amount of the rays pass through while some are reflected and some absorbed by the glass.
Each type of window films increases the amount of energy reflected and absorbed. By controlling these elements we control the environment within to suit our needs.
As you may imagine it is quite technical and extremely difficult to design a film which allows visible light to pass so we can see what we are doing yet restrict both the UV and IR wavelengths. Due to the different types of glass available and its potential to crack or break we can not just put any film on any glass. If we use a film which absorbs too much heat then it may crack or if we use on which reflects too much back into double glazing then again we can have problems. The many different films on offer take into account these technical problems as well as the more aesthetic choices of the colour desired and the amount of tint or shade required.
There is no one film which suits all purposes and the amount of visible light which is needed is an individual’s choice. You can therefore see how essential it is for an on-site survey and customer interview to find the most suitable product for our clients before choosing a particular film.
A Few Technical Terms
Sputtered Metalised Films
Sputtered metal is the name for the process of attaching incredibly fine particles of metal onto the film. The type and amount of metal used in the sputtering process determines the colour, shade and properties of the film.
Most Architectural Films contain metal particles as this is the best way to reflect solar radiation. The density of the metal particles usually relates to how much light is transmitted through the film with darker films usually giving better protection.
A cheaper method of giving a shade to the film is to include dyes in the film laminate. These used to have the reputation of not being as colour stable as metal films. However recent technology and new processes have made the current dyed films far better and longer lasting than their predecessors.
Dyed films tend to absorb rather than reflect the solar energy and as such they have limited use on glass which is not tempered or toughened. They are therefore more usually suited towards automobile tinting and do not a have the reflective look but a more charcoal appearance, they also have the advantage of being less likely to affect radio GPS signals than some metalised films.
UV inhibitors are used in the films glue. This is because if the glue was not UV stable then the film would become detached from the glass. Untreated glass has an element of UV reduction but by applying any of our window films the reduction is more than 98%.
Infra Red Reduction
The amount of Infrared allowed to pass is usually based on the amount of metal used and therefore the shade of the film. Where heat is the main problem then the amount of solar heat reflected or absorbed is important.
Low E Film
The emissivity of the film indicates the amount it limits the heat passing through the glass. A low E film reduces the rate of heat transferred so keeping in warm air in winter and hot air out in summer. Special films have been developed to maximise this effect and 30% reduction of the heat escaping in the winter can be achieved, giving a similar effect to double glazing.
Spectrally Selective Films
These are a very modern development in the window film field as they inhibit both the UV and infrared wavelengths yet allow a large amount of visible light, giving excellent protection from all aspects of the suns harmful properties without spoiling the view from inside or looking heavily tinted from outside.
Solar Gard’s LX 70 represents the state of the art in this development and is the first choice for those wanting the best product without affecting the natural light entering the building.
Cool Kote is specifically deigned for polycarbonate roofs as normal window film can peel and bubble on polycarbonate.It is an aluminium coated vinyl It can be used externally or internally on polycarbonate or glass. We usually only use this product on conservatory roofs as it is very effective at reflecting and reducing heat but it can not be seen through. It gives a pleasing diffused light grey tint. More information can be found here.