The Difference Between PDLC Glass and SPD Glass

If you’re just beginning to research smart glass you’ll likely come across two options: SPD smart glass and PDLC smart glass. While both products are high tech window treatments, their features and technologies are completely different.

So what is the difference between SPD and PDLC glass technology? And which product is right for you?

Both SPD and PDLC glass are electrical products that contain molecules that align with the application of electrical voltage. These molecules are usually coated between two pieces of conductive PET-ITO film and paired with glass or other transparent materials. When powered on these molecules align and the glass becomes transparent. When powered off these molecules scatter the light and the glass becomes opaque and blocks up to 99% of UV light.

What sets them apart is that PDLC glass goes from clear to milky white and SPD glass goes from clear to dark.

PDLC Smart Glass

PDLC glass, commonly known as smart glass, privacy glass or switchable glass, goes from clear to frosted when powered on and off and provides complete privacy. PDLC stands for Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal and it is these crystals that are responsible for the switchable effect.

SPD Smart Glass

SPD stands for Suspended Particle Devices and contains rod-like particles that can block up to 99% of light. This property makes SPD glass ideal for shading outdoor facing windows and glass doors. However, it does not provide complete privacy, unlike PDLC glass. SPD glass switches from clear to dark in a matter of 3 seconds, a speed that surpasses other solar tint technologies such as self-tinting photochromic glass.

SPD or Smart Glass -Which Is Right For Your Project?

Both PDLC and SPD smart glass are great products. Choosing between them depends on your specific needs.

If privacy is your primary concern, Liquid Crystal Glass is the right choice for you. PDLC glass is preferred by architects and interior designers for interior glass surfaces such as office partitions and glass walls in master bathrooms where an open concept layout may be desired but privacy can be a concern. Popular applications for privacy glass include offices where both privacy and natural light are essential, sliding doors, glass walls in small spaces such as hotel rooms and schools for security purposes. Another great feature of privacy glass and film is that they can be used as a rear projection screen in conference rooms for presentations or in home theatres.

SPD glass is ideal for areas with high sun exposure. Because of it’s shading properties, SPD smart glass is commonly found in vehicles to reduce glare, fuel consumption and enhance solar control. However, it is becoming more common in buildings as well because it helps them reduce heat transfer and lower energy consumption.

Both PDLC and SPD glass can be used on operable glass surfaces such as windows, retractable glass walls, swing doors and sliding doors. Any type of glass can be turned into PDLC or SPD glass either by applying the film to the surface of existing glass or sandwiching it between two pieces of laminated glass.

Interested in PDLC Glass? Contact Smart Privacy Glass today to get started.