Innovative glass windows are more efficient and enhance mobile signals
While most manufacturers are head first into building innovative train cars, a research team at the EPFL University in Switzerland is developing new type of glass windows for trains that promise to be more energy efficient without compromising on mobile reception for passengers on-board. Generally in even the most high-end trains, connectivity is an issue. This is because the compartments are metal boxes and their windows have metal coating to improve insulation, this works as Faraday cage, blocking out microwaves.
The innovative windows from EPFL laboratory comes with laser-treated metal coating of a new type which reflects heat waves and lets in visible light and electromagnetic waves of mobile signals. The mobile reception in trains through laser-treated insulating glass is as good as ordinary glass.
Explaining the new coating Andreas Schüler of EPFL said,
We breach the Faraday cage by modifying the metal coating with a special laser treatment. The windows then let the signals through.
According to the research, a special structure is scribed in metal coating with high precision laser. The pattern is barely visible to the naked eye. It lets mobile signals through without affecting the insulating property of the metal coating on the windows.
The innovative windows have been put through a range of test by glass makers and train manufacturers. The initial laboratory testing have been successful. In fact the tests have been so convincing that Bern–Lötschberg–Simplon railway (BLS) has decided to install these windows in its NINA regional trains in Switzerland.
Besides use in trains, the new insulating glass and window technology can find applicable use in architecture. Considering Internet of Things is becoming a phenomenon, there will be an increasing interest amid builders to use materials that allow mobile signals through better than presently used glass.