Electric Field-Assisted Structuring of Glass

Technology

This invention describes an electric field assisted glass structuring process that allows for post-melt processing and forming or surface/local structuring. It provides a means for glass components to be softened and changed to a desired texture at relatively low temperatures or even after glass forming, such as in a composite configuration. The process involves the application of an electric field through the glass sample, which creates a positive feedback system of Joule heating, charge injection, space charge formation, and electrolysis, resulting in glass softening under a relatively moderate electric field across the sample. Local softening of the glass occurs near the anode, which can function as a die for the structuring of the glass surface. The process can also be used to shape and structurize glass products at the microscale and submicron level because electric fields can be manipulated much more precisely and selectively than conventional heating methods.

 

Competitive Advantage

Micro-structuring can improve the performance of a glass surface, but conventional processes involve complex machines, long processing times, and significant costs. The proposed process requires low processing temperatures and times and allows for a more versatile and flexible manufacturing process, significantly reducing production costs and increasing productivity. It is particularly advantageous in cases where the entire glass part cannot withstand the standard glass softening temperatures due to the melting or degradation of other connected components. Due to its simplicity and low cost, it could be incorporated into existing glass processing equipment such as rolling machines and hot embossing machines.

 

Market Need/Opportunity

Patterned glass is a sector within the flat glass industry that involves the imprinting of textures on the surface of glass for cosmetic/artistic or functional purposes, from simply reducing light transmission to more advanced functions in optics, advanced electronics, solar energy collection, and energy conservation. According to Grand View Research, the global flat glass industry generated $71.98 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow through 2022 at a CAGR of 7.1%. The construction sector made up 81.1% of the global market in 2014, with green construction and increasing project sanctions driving growth. Significant investments have also been made in patterned glass for solar energy applications. Due to rapid growth in the photovoltaic industry, PV glass consumption reached 580 million square meters in 2015, which was a 44.4% increase from previous years, and PRS Newswire expects the CAGR to remain over 20% through 2020.

 

TECH-ID 102315-01

 

Status

Lehigh University is looking for a partner for further development and commercialization of this technology through a license. The inventor is available to collaborate with interested companies.

 

For Information, Contact:
Thomas Meischeid
Interim Director
Lehigh University
tjm5@lehigh.edu
Inventors:
Himanshu Jain
Charles McLaren
Keywords: