What is a Low-Energy Coating?

Low E GlassA low-energy coating is a layer that enables a surface to reduce the amount of heat energy it emits. Different materials have different levels of emissivity, with dull surfaces having a high emissivity and reflective surfaces like glass having low emissivity. The coatings can reduce the level of emissivity of a surface and enhance the insulation properties of the surfaces.

This coating enables the surfaces to stick less to other materials, making even cleaning the surface easy. When the surface energy is less, then it is less likely for the two materials to form a bond. The beauty of surfaces with low-energy coatings is that they increase melt flow, reducing the stickiness of a surface to other surfaces. This property is applied to non-stick surfaces like those on cooking pans to keep foods from sticking onto them and even for the ease of cleaning.

Construction materials like glass for windows also use low-energy coatings to reduce further the emissivity of energy. This keeps harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays away from the inside of a building, making it a commonly used window insulation method that is especially helpful during summer. It is usually applied when it is in raw soda-lime state either through sputtering or through pyrolytic coating. Pyrolytic coating is done at the plant making float glass and involves the depositing of thin layers of silver, together with antireflection layers. Sputtering involves the depositing at high temperatures of up to ten layers of metals, metal nitrides or metal oxides like fluorinated tin oxide in quick succession done in large vacuum chambers through physical vapor deposition, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative. The advantage with low-energy coating in window insulation is that while it keeps glare and heat gain low, the number of coatings is relatively thin and keeps the lighting uncompromised.

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