HighTech Finland › New Materials & Processes › All articles in this section   ›  Amazing colours in glass

Forest Industry Applications
Manufacturing & Systems
Measurement & Testing
Transport & Logistics
All articles in this section


Amazing colours in glass

Thanks to a new and revolutionary technique, nGlass can achieve an amazing depth of colour and high-gloss vivid surfaces in its glass tiles. The company’s products are ideal for both the home and public spaces – in halls, bathrooms, kitchens, pools, and exteriors.

Nanotechnology holds immense promise, as it offers extensive opportunities for competitive differentiation, in the form of either new products or cost savings, thanks to the new production techniques that it makes possible. Over 40 companies in Finland already have commercial products based on nanotechnology, ranging from food freshness indicators and technology for medical implants to water-repellent suits. nGlass is one of these.

A recent start-up, nGlass has drawn on Finland’s strong research expertise in atomic layer deposition to develop a completely new approach to colouring glass, which it has commercialised in a range of high-gloss glass tiles.

These have brilliant, highly saturated colours that have never been seen before in this type of glass product. In addition to the richness of the colours the technology makes possible, pigment is very evenly distributed across the surface, with no banding or other issues.

A new glow

The technique is based on the use of nano-scale pigment particles, which are deposited on the preheated glass surface using special burners operating at 2,000 °C. The shade and intensity of the colour can be varied by adjusting the concentration of the pigment particles used.

As the pigment is completely dissolved into the molten glass matrix, the colour will not fade or wear, above and beyond the normal wear and tear of the glass itself. This represents a major step forward for glass tiles.

The high temperature used in the process also results in soft, rounded edges, and helps give the glass an eye-catching glow.

A full range of colours is already available, from white and light grey through cool blues and rich reds and golds to graphite and black. Tiles are produced in two thicknesses, 6 mm and 8 mm, and 11 standard sizes, from 100 x 100 mm to 300 x 600 mm.

In addition to these standard products, nGlass can also produce custom tiles featuring different curvatures, tints, or patterning, according to customer specifications.

Many opportunities

The wide range of colours, shapes, and sizes offered by nGlass opens up exciting opportunities for architects, interior designers, and the ordinary consumer to use glass surfaces in new ways – in halls, bathrooms, kitchens, pool areas, and exterior walls.

nGlass’ new tiles are produced using the latest generation of nanotechnology, and offer a range and depth of colour never seen before in glass tiles. And like all glass surfaces, they are hard-wearing, easy to look after, and hygienic.
> Jussi Wright
(Published in HighTech Finland 2008)