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Title:
GLASS-ENCLOSED CHAMBER AND INTERNAL VENETIAN BLIND HAVING SLATS OF IMPROVED REFLECTANCE AND DIFFUSIVITY OVER A WIDER SPECTRAL INTERVAL OF INCIDENT SOLAR RADIATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/032551
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Inside a glass-enclosed chamber is a Venetian blind connected to internal means for operating it, said means being workable from outside to raise, lower and incline the slats. The raw slats of the blind are obtained by moulding a rolled strip of aluminium alloy hardened by magnesium. The strip has not been lapped in order to maintain a certain degree of roughness on both surfaces, ready to receive a reflecting layer applied by sputtering without interfering with the vacuum cycle. Reflective stratification includes a layer of pure aluminium adherent to the body of the slat that serves to fix a reflective type of interferential dielectric multilayer. Average thickness of the layer of sputtered aluminium depends on the diffusivity of reflected radiation required in relation to the maximum height of the peaks of surface roughness on the body of the slats. There are possible different types of multilayer that offer similar services, all able to increase reflectance to levels averaging over 85% on a wide interval of wavelengths from near infrared to ultraviolet. Each type of multilayer includes two dielectric layers at least, which differ in the chemical composition and eventually in the thickness. The following are examples of multilayers whose layers are listed in order of laying down: SiO2 (91 nm) + Al2O3 (46,1 nm); SiO2 (107,2 nm) + TiO2 (18,9 nm); TiO2 (4,2 nm) + SiO2 (97,2 nm) + TiO2 (21,8 nm). (Figures 5A, 5B, 5C)

Inventors:
PELLINI Alessandro (Vicolo Monfenera 9, CODOGNO, 26045, IT)
NICOLOSI Giovanni (Via G. Di Vittorio 4, DRESANO, 20070, IT)
GENTILI Massimo (Piazza Dei Daini 4, Mi MILANO, 20126, IT)
Application Number:
IT2010/000408
Publication Date:
March 15, 2012
Filing Date:
September 27, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PELLINI S.P.A. (VIA FUSARI 19, CODOGNO, 26845, IT)
PELLINI Alessandro (Vicolo Monfenera 9, CODOGNO, 26045, IT)
NICOLOSI Giovanni (Via G. Di Vittorio 4, DRESANO, 20070, IT)
GENTILI Massimo (Piazza Dei Daini 4, Mi MILANO, 20126, IT)
International Classes:
E06B9/264; E06B9/386; G02B17/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999026088A11999-05-27
Foreign References:
CH586835A51977-04-15
GB1536600A1978-12-20
US20020038694A12002-04-04
US5527562A1996-06-18
US6627307B12003-09-30
US5527562A1996-06-18
US6627307B12003-09-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LO MAGRO Attilio dell'Ufficio (BREVETTI Dott. Ing. DIGIOVANNI SCHMIEDT S.r.l, Via Aldrovandi 7, MILANO, 20129, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. Glass-enclosed chamber (1) inside which is a Venetian blind (6) connected to an internal mechanism for inclining the slats (7) of the blind and optionally for raising and lowering it, the body (20) of said slats (7) being of hardened aluminium alloy its surface being roughened to peaks of a controllable height, the slats (7) being characterized in that on both faces they have a reflecting stratification (RFT) obtained by sputtering or by some other well-known layering process, including:

- a layer of pure aluminium (21a) adherent to the roughened surface of the body (20) of hardened aluminium alloy, said layer being of variable thickness according to the desired degree of diffusivity of the reflected radiation;

- a first dielectric layer (22a) of determined thickness superimposed to the layer of pure aluminium (21a);

- at least a second dielectric layer (23 a) of determined thickness superimposed to the first dielectric layer (22a), the second dielectric layer (23a) having different chemical composition than the first dielectric layer (22a) and said first and at least second dielectric layers generating constructive interference in the reflected radiation such as to guarantee a reflectance (RA) greater on an average than 85% of the incident radiation within a wavelength (WL) interval comprised between the near infrared and the ultraviolet.

2. The glass-enclosed chamber (1) as in claim 1, characterized in that:

- said first dielectric layer (22a) is of silicon dioxide, Si02, 91nm ±3% thick;

- said second dielectric layer (23a) is of aluminium dioxide, A1203, 46 nm- ±3% thick.

3. The glass-enclosed chamber (1) as in claim 1, characterized in that:

- said first dielectric layer (22a) is of silicon dioxide, Si02, 107 nm ±3% thick;

- said second dielectric layer (23a) is of titanium dioxide, Ti02, 19 nm ±3% thick.

4. The glass-enclosed chamber (1) as in claim 1, characterized in that: - said first dielectric layer (22a) is of titanium dioxide, Ti02, 4.2 nm ±1% thick;

- said second dielectric layer (23a) is of silicon dioxide, Si02, 97 nm ±1% thick;

- the reflecting stratification (RFT) also includes a third dielectric layer of titanium dioxide, Ti02, 29 mm ±1% thick, superimposed to the second dielectric layer (23a).

5. Glass-enclosed chamber as in any one claim from 1 to 4, characterized in that said hardened aluminium alloy includes 4-5% of magnesium, plus decidedly smaller percentages of other metals such as copper, iron, nickel, or of non-metals such as silicon.

6. Glass-enclosed chamber as in any one claim from 1 to 4, characterized in that the peaks of surface roughness on the body (20) of the slats (7) are determined by values assigned to re-rolling parameters for said body.

7. Glass-enclosed chamber as in any one claim from 1 to 4, characterized in that, if the peaks of surface roughness on said body (20) are of a height up to 500 nm, average thickness of said layer of pure aluminium (21a) is about 75 nm where diffusivity of reflected radiation is the maximum allowed.

8. Glass-enclosed chamber as in any one claim from 1 to 4, characterized in that, if the peaks of surface roughness on said body (20) are of a height up to 500 nm, average thickness of said layer of pure aluminium (21a) is about 150 nm where diffusivity of reflected radiation is at optimum level.

9. Glass-enclosed chamber as in any one claim from 1 to 4, characterized in that, if the peaks of surface roughness on said body (20) are of a height up to 500 nm, average thickness of said layer of pure aluminium (21a) is about 300 nm where diffusivity of reflected radiation is the minimum allowed.

Description:
Glass-enclosed chamber and internal Venetian blind having slats of improved reflectance and diffusivity over a wider spectral interval of incident solar radiation

Field of application of the invention

The present invention concerns the technology for improving heat insulation in glass-enclosed chambers, and in particular a glass-enclosed chamber which contains a Venetian blind having slats that possess greater reflectance and diffusivity over a wider spectral interval of incident solar radiation.

Review of the known art

Glass-enclosed chambers are usually of greater depth than the ordinary double glazing and can provide better screening against sun rays by the presence of hermetically-sealed internal means such as a Venetian blind, a roller blind or a pleated blind. Screening is graduated by operating the blind from outside. Glass-enclosed chambers with a Venetian blind inside offer a solution for effective control over the degree of brightness in daylight, especially where ventilation is controlled by centralized air conditioning, such as in trade fair buildings, exhibition halls, large stores, office blocks etc., and similarly on the facades of buildings for civil use. The increasing use of glass-enclosed chambers offering high heat insulation contributes to achieving a reduction in the amount of fuel needed for central heating in winter and for air conditioning in summer and therefore the ecological advantage of reducing the level of carbon dioxide in the air. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the structure of a glass-enclosed chamber 1 produced and sold by the applicant. Some innovations on the basic product have already been patented in a number of countries. The exploded perspective view in Figure 1 shows a rectangular frame 2 laid between two panes of glass, 3 and 4, ultimately to be glued to the two lateral edges of the frame 2 to form the glass- enclosed chamber 1. The frame 2 is composed of four bars usually of aluminium of a closed cross section, held together by corner joints. A box- shaped part 5 is elastically fitted onto the top of frame 2 to contain the means (not shown in the figure) for working a Venetian blind 6, here shown fully let down into the chamber below box 5. In each slat 7 forming the blind 6 there are two suitably-spaced slots; a centrally situated cord 8 passes through the vertically aligned slots to raise or lower the slats.

Figure 2 shows the front of the glass-enclosed chamber 6 with the glass casing 3 glued to the rectangular edge of the frame 2. The panes of glass 3 and 4 can be standard panes, without surface treatment, or else of the low emission type which means that their inner faces have been treated with coatings that selectively reflect some parts of the spectrum of solar radiation, principally among the ultraviolet rays (UV) and the near infrared (IR). Figures 3A, 3B and 3C show the same cross section of the glass-enclosed chamber 6 with the slats 7 in three angular positions. In Figure 3A, each slat 7 rests horizontally on its own notch in two collapsible cord 'ladders' 9. The vertical cords of ladders 9 pass outside the long side of each slat 7, aligned with the cords 8 for pulling up the blind that pass through the slats. One end of the cords 8 and ladders 9 is fixed to a horizontal bar 10 placed underneath the lowest slat. The other end of the cords and ladders crosses the base of the box 5 and is fixed to its respective parts for raising and inclining the slats. The weight of the bar 10 enables the blind 6 to extend downwards keeping the cords 8 and the ladders 9 in tension while moving. The mechanism for downward and upward movement of the blind 6, as for that to incline the slats 7, are of a well-known type and will not be described. As an example, in the upper left-hand corner of the frame 2 there is a plug 11 to supply electric current to a motor, hermetically sealed in the box 5, for raising the blind 6. There are similar means in the box 5 for adjusting slat inclination that can vary only slightly less than 90°, one way and the other, in relation to horizontal. Figures 3B and 3C show two positions of the slats 7 inclined respectively downwards and upwards.

The slats 7 are made by forming an aluminium strip 16 mm wide and about 0.15 - 0.2 mm thick. The surface of the laminated, but not lapped, aluminium is roughened and can be oxidised on both faces. The slats can be mounted straight onto the cords to form the Venetian blind, or can first be painted on both faces using colours and shades chosen according to where and how the blind will be used. The glass panes, 3 and 4, can be of standard type without any surface treatment, or else the sides facing inside the glass-enclosed chamber can be treated for low emission by well-known processes involving application of suitable coatings able to make selective reflection of some parts of the spectrum of incident solar radiation, preferably near infrared. Special hygroscopic salts are usually put into the hollow part of the bars forming the frame 2. A gas mixture consisting of 90% Argon and 10% air is generally put inside the glass-enclosed chamber. Lastly, the perimeter of the glass-enclosed chamber 1 is sealed all round using suitable sealing material.

Reflectance of the painted slats depends on the pigmentation of the paint used; variations of reflectance in relation to wavelength reaches maximum levels according to the shade of colouring. Surface roughness of the slats presents peaks comparable to the wavelength of visible light, typically 500 nm, so that the surface produced by rolling can be seen. Surface roughness of the slats is to some extent useful because it increases the diffusivity of reflected radiation and avoids unpleasant glare.

The experimental dashed curve in Figure 4 shows the trend of the percentage R of reflectance as a function of the wavelength WL of incident radiation on the clean surface of a rough strip of aluminium used for forming the slats 7. The trend of reflectance R rises continually, though at different slopes, showing values from about 20% in the ultraviolet to a little below 80% in the near infrared. To estimate thermal efficiency when using a Venetian blind made with slats such as these, the following temperatures must be known:

• Tl - temperature on the outer surface of pane of glass 3 (standard) facing towards the outside of the building;

· T2 - temperature on the surface of the slats 7;

• T3 - temperature on the outer surface of the pane of glass 4 (standard) facing towards the inside of the building.

The wavelength interval, where it is believed that there is higher absorption and emission of radiation that contributes to the heating, hereinafter called interval of reference, is comprised between the 300 nm of ultraviolet and the 2,100 nm of near infrared. The source of light used in the heat test can reproduce the entire spectrum of solar radiation at a radiant power of 850 W/m , in accordance with a standard set by present regulations. While the heat test is in progress the blind 6 is fully lowered and the slats 7 fully turned to exclude the light and intercept maximum irradiated power. On illuminating the glass- enclosed chamber 1 at the front the following temperatures were read: T1 = 62°C; T2 = 100°C; T3 = 41°C. These are certainly not optimum values: the high value of T2 in particular may mean faster wear on the elements inside the chamber 1, while the high value of T3 indicates the need for a more intensive use of the air conditioning system. No improvement is obtained by the use of painted slats.

Description of the technical problem

In situations of intense solar radiation, as often occur at certain latitudes in the summer, a control over the temperature of parts inside a glass-enclosed chamber is of crucial importance for securing approval by the user. Present regulations, aiming at a reduction of energy consumption in new buildings, require that windows and the like shall satisfy certain criteria. This also applies to glass-enclosed chambers and manufacturers must therefore ensure that they are designed to fulfil these requirements or, more generally speaking, that they satisfy standards of comfort for those inside the building. As glass-enclosed chambers are sealed, it is no easy matter to extract internal heat which by raising the inside temperature favours expulsion of heat through its walls. If the metal slats become overheated, the blind becomes a source of undesired radiation that heats the other parts inside the chamber, such as cords, paint, motor, etc. adversely affecting the reliability of the product. Once the temperature of these parts exceeds 60°, they may release vapours that condense on the cooler surfaces of the glass which then become fogged up. Makers of glass-enclosed chambers that contain a Venetian blind therefore advise their clients against slats of a dark colour because their low level of reflectance means extra absorbed heat requiring dispersal.

When using reflectors like the slats of a Venetian blind inside a glass-enclosed chamber, allowance must be made for the various requirements imposed by the use made of reflectors, for example: a) mechanical resistance of the metal substrates necessary for the slat forming process; b) diffusivity of reflected radiation to avoid glare; c) increase in reflectance across the entire spectrum of the interval concerned, especially in the region of infrared that bears greater responsibility for heating; d) operative life of the glass-enclosed chamber; e) finally the costs of the various processes.

The present art, other than that referred to above, appears to have no means of satisfying all the requirements as here outlined.

US patent 5527562 describes a reflector of unpolished rolled aluminium strip coated with a polymeric layer of an aromatic compound of silicon (silane) to make it perfectly flat and therefore suitable for application of reflecting layers applied by sputtering in a vacuum in the following order: aluminium (Al) about 60-100 nm thick; silicon dioxide (Si0 2 ) about 70-1 10 nm thick; titanium dioxide (Ti0 2 ) about 30-50 nm thick. As an alternative to the above polymeric levelling structure, reflectors in the art as known even earlier than patent US 5527562, used a flat layer of aluminium oxide applied to the surface of a sheet of rough aluminium over which a flat layer of Si0 2 about 70 nm thick was laid for greater mechanical consistency and protection of the oxidised surface. The dielectric stratification Si0 2 , Ti0 2 sputtered onto the layer of aluminium, generates constructive interference in the reflected radiation able to improve reflectance within a suitable wavelength interval. This is due to the different indices of refraction of the materials and to the different thickness of the two dielectric layers. Teaching by the US patent and by the known art here mentioned refers mainly to the production of specular reflectors which, aiming at a sharper image, try to reduce the diffusivity of reflected light, contrary to what is required of the Venetian blind slats. If the intermediate layer is that of polymeric silane, specialist processing costs are higher, but if the intermediate layer is of aluminium oxide, the sputtered aluminium layer is laid over a dielectric layer of Si0 2 . In either case overall stratification includes an intermediate levelling layer as a base for the subsequent reflecting non-diffusive stratification.

US patent 6627307 Bl (application WO99/26088) describes a composite material for reflectors comprising a flexible metal support sufficiently rigid to be produced in rolls, for example aluminium, treated for surface adhesion to a roughened covering layer selectable in accordance with the degree of diffusivity of light reflected by the reflector, of organic polymerised material, on which a sputtered reflecting stratification is laid in the following order: a layer of pure aluminium; a first dielectric layer; a second interferential dielectric layer reflecting with the first dielectric layer; a final protective coating, 5-10 nm thick, of Si0 2 . Contrary to the previous US patent, control of surface roughness of the initial metal substrate enables the diffusivity of reflected light to be graduated but, identical with said US patent, the surface of the initial layer must be covered with another of organic resin that has to be heat-reticulated before the reflecting stratification can be laid. There are also other different types of highly reflecting stratification, for visible and for ultraviolet respectively.

For more than one reason the stratifications described in the two US patents referred to here are not the best where production of slats for Venetian blinds to fit into a glass-enclosed chamber is concerned. One reason is that residual gas released by the intermediate organic layer, though minimum, accumulates over time and leads to misting on the glass that is more pronounced during the summer. Another reason is the need to make use of different reflecting stratifications to obtain the best reflectance in various spectral regions of the interval of reference. This means that a single stratification is unable to reflect simultaneously and effectively on several spectral regions present in solar radiation. A third reason is that it is impossible to obtain all the layers in one layer-laying process only, whether applied by sputtering or by an equivalent method, this because of having to lay and reticulate the intermediate layer of silane or organic resin.

Purpose of the invention

Purpose of the present invention is therefore to overcome the drawbacks noted in the glass-enclosed chambers that contain Venetian blinds based on metal substrates to which reflecting and non-reflecting stratifications adhere. A particularly important purpose of the invention is to minimize the generation of heat inside the chamber in order to improve heat insulation in the frontages of buildings where these chambers are used, to lengthen the working life of its various components, and avoid misting on the glass. A further purpose of the invention is to simplify the process for manufacture of slats for Venetian blinds to be used inside glass-enclosed chambers, starting from an substrate of rolled metal, usually produced in rolls, ensuring for this latter the same characteristics of mechanical resistance, hardness, reflectance and surface diffusivity required for the slats.

Summary of the invention

To achieve these aims, subject of the present invention is a glass-enclosed chamber containing a Venetian blind connected to an internal mechanism for inclining the slats and, if required, for drawing them up or letting them down, the slat bodies being of hardened aluminium alloy, the surfaces roughened with peaks of controllable height, wherein, according to the invention, the slats receive on both faces a reflecting layer applied by sputtering or by some other known process of application, including: a layer of pure aluminium adherent to the roughened surface of the body of hardened aluminium alloy, of variable thickness according to the desired degree of diffusivity of the reflected radiation;

a first dielectric layer of determined thickness superimposed to the layer of pure aluminium;

- at least a second dielectric layer of determined thickness superimposed to the first dielectric layer, the second dielectric layer having different chemical composition than the first dielectric layer and said first and at least second dielectric layers generating constructive interference in the reflected radiation such as to guarantee a reflectance (RA) greater on an average than 85% of the incident radiation within a wavelength (WL) interval comprised between the near infrared and the ultraviolet, as described in claim 1.

Further characteristics of the present invention considered innovative are described in the dependent claims.

In accordance with a first embodiment of the invention:

- said first dielectric layer of silicon dioxide, Si0 2 , 107 nm ±3% thick, in contact with the layer of pure aluminium;

said second dielectric layer of titanium dioxide, Ti0 2 , 19 nm ±3% thick, in contact with the first dielectric layer.

In accordance with a second embodiment of the invention:

- said first dielectric layer is of silicon dioxide, Si02, 107 nm ±3% thick;

- said second dielectric layer is of titanium dioxide, Ti02, 19 nm ±3% thick. In accordance with a third embodiment of the invention:

- said first dielectric layer of titanium dioxide, Ti0 2 , 4.2 nm ±1% thick, in contact with the layer of pure aluminium;

- said second dielectric layer of silicon dioxide, Si0 2 , 97 nm ±1% thick, in contact with the first dielectric layer;

- the reflecting stratification also includes a third dielectric layer of titanium dioxide, Ti0 2 , 29 nm ±1% thick, in contact with the second dielectric layer. Alternative versions realized with two or three dielectric layers reveal optical, thermal and mechanical properties substantially equal those of the stratification described in claim one. Advantageously, reflectance remains stable at over 90% in near infrared from 1,300 nm upwards, exceeding 95% starting from 1,900 nm.

The body of the unfinished slats (before laying the reflecting stratification) is preferably made of an aluminium alloy hardened by the addition of 4-5% of magnesium, plus decidedly smaller percentages of other metals such as copper, iron, nickel, or of non-metals such as silicon and phosphorous. Control of the peaks of roughness can be done by checking the parameters of the rolling process for producing the rolls of metal used to form the slats .

According to one aspect of the invention, by allowing the peaks of up to 500 nm to form on the surface roughness, average thickness of the layer of aluminium laid is over 75nm. As thickness of the layer of aluminium increases, the depressions in the roughness tend to fill up, thereby increasing the levelling of the surface of the slats, which in turn reduces the percentage of diffused radiation. The average thickness of 75 nm of sputtered aluminium is in any case sufficient to keep the dielectric stratification firmly anchored to the body of the slat in conditions of maximum diffusivity of reflected radiation. Optimum diffusivity of incident radiation can be attained by laying an average thickness of about 150 nm of aluminium by sputtering.

Advantages of the invention

The glass-enclosed chamber of the present invention has none of the drawbacks noted in the previous versions. Confirmation of this is given by the degree of heat measured in a prototype chamber that only differs from the one used to obtain the dashed curve in Figure 4 in that it contains a Venetian blind fitted with innovative slats. The following temperatures were measured in the prototype of a glass-enclosed chamber: Tl = 61°C; T2 = 63°C: T3 = 32°C. A comparison between these temperatures and the previous ones immediately shows a ΔΤ2 fall in T2 temperature on the slats of as much as 37°C, and an ΔΤ3 fall of 9°C in T3 temperature on the surface of the glass inside the building. As the entry of heat inside the chamber mainly depends on the temperature' T2, the ΔΤ2 between the two measurements means less overall heating inside the glass-enclosed chamber and therefore less steam from the paints and/or produced by the moving parts of the blind (motor, gears, etc.), primary cause of misting (the so-called fogging effect) on the panes of glass. While the entry of heat inside the building depends mainly on the temperature T3, the ΔΤ3 between the two measurements therefore means more efficient thermal insulation of the facades of the buildings where the new glass-enclosed chambers will be used, and consequently greater comfort in the summer for people working close to these chambers, as well as a reduced need for air conditioning. Due also to the sputtered layer of pure aluminium firmly anchored to the surface of the laminated aluminium alloy body of the slats, the entire reflecting stratification can be directly anchored to the two faces of the slat, therefore without the need for any intermediate layer of organic material, yet another cause of misting. Lastly, the manufacturing process of innovative Venetian blinds for use inside glass-enclosed chambers is greatly simplified with a consequent reduction in production costs.

All the requirements listed above under a) and e) can therefore be simultaneously fulfilled by the glass-enclosed chamber of the present invention. Short description of the figures

Further purposes and advantages of the present invention will be made clear by the following detailed description of an example of its realization and by the drawings provided for purely explanatory reasons in no way limiting the invention, wherein:

Figure 1 is an exploded view in perspective of a glass-enclosed chamber of known mechanical construction: it includes a Venetian blind which may either be of the known type or like the blind of the present invention.

Figure 2 is a front view of the chamber in Figure 1.

Figures 3A, 3B, 3C represent the same cross section of the glass-enclosed chamber in Figure 2 with the slats of the blind in three positions: horizontal, inclined downwards, inclined upwards.

Figure 4 shows a dashed curve between spectro-photometric measurements of reflectance of the non-pickled surfaces of the two faces of a strip of aluminium alloy used in forming the slats of a known type of Venetian blind to be placed inside the glass-enclosed chamber, compared with a solid curve, obtained in similar fashion, of the reflectance of non-pickled surfaces of the two faces of a strip of aluminium alloy treated by surface sputtering to use in forming the slats of a Venetian blind to be placed in the glass-enclosed chambers of the present invention.

Figures 5A, 5B, 5C show a partial cross section of a slat in Figure 3A complete with reflecting stratification according to the present invention, the surface of the internal metal layer being decreasingly roughened.

Figure 6 shows the solid curve in Figure 4 in greater detail, clearly indicating the bars of 2% error in measurements of reflectance given on the R axis, and the bars of 1% error of relative wavelengths given on the WL axis.

Detailed description of some preferred forms of realizing the invention

As far as concerns the structural and hermetic characteristics of the innovative glass-enclosed chamber, the presence of means for raising the Venetian blind and for inclining the slats, the description given of Figures 1, 2, 3 A, 3B and 3C remains valid in the one given below. However, as regards manufacture of the new Venetian blind 6, and particularly of the innovative slats 7, the aim has been to obtain a drastic reduction in the amount of energy absorbed by the slats 7 in reflecting solar radiation, promoting for this purpose an increase in reflectance while ensuring an optimum percentage of diffusivity at around 4% of incident radiation in order to reduce glare. The energy in any case absorbed by the slats is an intrinsic cause of a rise in their temperature to facilitate infrared re-irradiation inside the glass-enclosed chamber and convective circulation of the inert gases contained therein, so that the energy absorbed may be dispersed in the outside environment.

The same principle inspires the search for how best to anchor the reflecting stratification to the roughened surface of the substrate of aluminium alloy on the slats, seeing that they are to be used inside a glass-enclosed chamber. As the chamber has to be hermetic, the type of anchorage must differ from that used in the production of slats on Venetian blinds used outside a glass-enclosed chamber in which case absorption of heat by the slats is not of such crucial importance. As already mentioned, over a period of time higher slat temperature could cause serious difficulties inside the chamber partly depending on how the reflecting stratification is anchored.

The slats 7 are made of an aluminium alloy hardened by the addition of 4-5% of magnesium plus much smaller percentages of other metals such as copper, iron, nickel etc., or of non-metals such as silicon, phosphorous and others. Bars of this alloy are first hot-rolled to reduce the thickness, then pickled, washed in water and wound up into rolls. This is followed by cold-rolling at high speed to reduce thickness to 0.2 mm. The strip is then annealed in a controlled atmosphere to restore plasticity and adaptability. Lastly, it is given a further short roll to make it perfectly flat but with the required roughness, for example with peaks of about 500 nm on the flat surface.

At this stage the strip is ready for reflecting stratification to be laid on both faces. A single reflecting layer is not, however, sufficient to ensure high reflectance in a wide wavelength interval Consistent with this, figure 5A shows a base layer 21a consisting of 95% pure aluminium of a pre-set thickness and adherent to the substrate 20 on the slat 7. Layer 21a underlies a multi-layer film MST consisting of two dielectric layers, 22a and 23a, of different materials, the one over the other and of fixed thicknesses. The thicknesses of the various layers, like the peaks and valleys on the surface roughness shown in the figure, are not the real ones. Layers 21a, 22a, 23a form an RFT reflecting stratification designed for maximum diffusivity. Average thickness of layer 21a is about 75 nm and because it is so thin it can do little to attenuate the roughness of substrate 20 so that average roughness of the reflecting surface is the maximum among the three cases shown. The profiles of surface roughness of dielectric layers 22a and 23a are substantially the same as that of the more internal layer 21a, determining a constant all-over thickness equal to theoretical. This is also valid for dielectric layers 22b and 23b and for dielectric layers 22c and 23c. Thickness profiles of the layer of pure aluminium and of the dielectric layers can be controlled by suitable action on the various physical parameters concerned in the layer-laying process. Surface roughness can be measured by known methods; an average roughness of substrate 20 can be calculated better to adjust the degree of levelling needed in order to achieve the required degree of diffusivity. An approximate idea of average roughness is shown in the figure by the difference (RGA) between peak height and the lowest level.

The reflecting stratification formed by layers 21b, 22b, 23b in Figure 5B is characterized by optimum diffusivity at 4%. Layer 21b, with an average thickness of around 150 nm, sufficiently smoothes the roughness of layer 20 to an average surface roughness of the reflective surface halfway between maximum and minimum.

The reflecting stratification formed by layers 21c, 22c, 23c in Figure 5C is characterized by a minimum diffusivity of around 2%. Layer 21c, with an average thickness of around 300 nm, effectively smoothes the roughness of substrate 20 so that roughness of the reflecting layer is minimal: Assuming RGA roughness as unitary, gives RGB = 0.68 and RGC = 0.47.

The MST multi-layer film is designed to function as a dielectric filter able to increase average reflectance of the untreated strip in the above spectral interval of reference. An accurate adjustment of thicknesses and the need to avoid contamination by elements extraneous to the materials forming the reflecting stratification, requires that the laying be carried out in a vacuum by physical type techniques such as sputtering or thermal evaporation. The unprocessed strip is unrolled by the application machinery and the layer of pure aluminium and dielectric layers are laid one after the other on both faces without interrupting the vacuum cycle. Technical details of how to apply the layers for the whole strip are not given as the technique is already known. The slats 7 to make the Venetian blind 6 are formed by a cold-moulding process on the previously stratified aluminium strip. Slot holes are made in the slats for the cords 8 used to raise the blind. One end of the cords 8 and of the ladders 9 is previously anchored to one end of the terminal bar 10, after which the slats 7 are carefully placed each on its rung of the cord ladder 9 and the cords 8 are passed through the vertically aligned slot holes. Lastly, the blind 6 is put into the glass-enclosed chamber 1 and the other ends of the cords 8 and the ladders 9 are joined to their respective operational parts inside the upper box 5, but workable from outside.

For reasons of economy and simplicity of the sputtering process, the materials chosen for the dielectric filter are silicon oxides, aluminium and titanium, limiting as much as possible the number of layers. Silicon dioxide Si0 2 , alumina A1 2 0 3 and titanium Ti0 2 are well-known materials which can be easily laid down in a vacuum by sputtering. The increase in the fraction of solar radiation reflected by the innovative slats 7 compared with slats having no multi-layer film, is due to constructive interference between incident and reflected waves at the interface between the various dielectric layers, as also at the interface between the innermost dielectric layer and the layer of pure aluminium, and at the interface between the outermost dielectric layer and the inert gas inside the glass-enclosed chamber. Due to the increase in the component reflected by the dielectric multi-layer, a lesser fraction of solar radiation affects the layer of pure aluminium thereby reducing its absorption of heat. The indices of refraction of the various dielectric layers and respective thickness play their part in producing this effect; the greater the impedance mismatch between adjacent layers the greater the reflection. Greater mismatching of impedance can generally be obtained by alternating dielectric layers respectively to low and high indices of refraction, or vice versa. As an example, the indices of refraction (nj) of the materials indicated are the following: Si0 2 ni = 1.46; Ti0 2 n 2 = 2.48; A1 2 0 3 n 3 = 1.77.

Table 1 below gives some combinations of multi-layer film able to increase the reflectance of the spectral interval of reference as indicated by Multi-layer 1 in Figure 4 (solid curve) and in Figure 6. The bottom line of Table 1 states the anchoring layer of pure aluminium (Al) common to all the multi-layers. The lines in the table indicate, from below upward, the order of application of the various layers. TABLE 1

The function of reflectance shown in Figure 6 is stably maintained above 90% in near infrared, from 1,300 nm upwards, exceeding 95% as from 1,900 nm. A drop occurs at the two sides of a depression situated in the visible zone of the spectrum with a minimum of 75% near to the 800 nm, that contributes to the aluminium-grey colour of the slats. Behaviour in the ultraviolet is also satisfactory with reflectance values tending to rise above 80%. The maximum diffusing effect of the bottom layer is found at the depression, a result of the degree of finish given to the aluminium alloy by the industrial rolling process. Thermal behaviour of the glass-enclosed chamber 1 can be analytically calculated applying mathematical expressions of the electromagnetic field and of thermal transport to a theoretical model of the chamber consisting of single finished elements connected one to another, characterized in their electromagnetic and thermodynamic aspects; this is however difficult to do even using a calculator. Results of thermal analysis can only confirm the maximum levels of temperature Tl . T2. T3 the significance of which has already been explained. By making suitable simplifications, the power radiated inside the glass-enclosed chamber, by a 1 m 2 pack of slats including the reflecting stratification of Multi-layer 1 when maximum T2 temperature of the slats 7 is 63°C, can be theoretically established. For example, leaving aside the convective phenomena, it may be assumed that all the thermal power absorbed by the slats is re-radiated. By considering the individual slat as a black body, the Stefan-Bolzmann law U = σ I 4 , with σ = 5.67 · 10 "8 Jrn ' ^s "1 establishes that the radiated power of a black body is proportionate to the fourth power of its temperature. Even a slight fall in the temperature of a slat therefore means a substantial reduction in the power it irradiates. The power irradiated inside the innovative glass-enclosed chamber at the temperature of T2

2 2

= 63°C measured on the surface of slats forming a pack of 1 m , is 0.893 W/m which means that nearly all the incident energy is reflected and partially diffused towards the outside. In comparison with this, slats of the known art in a pack of 1 m 2 , heated to the temperature of T2 = 100°C, irradiate 5.670 W/m . It follows that, inside the innovative glass-enclosed chamber, irradiated power is reduced by as much as 4.777 W/m 2 .

Based on the description given of a preferred realization, it is clear that some changes may be made by an expert in the field without thereby departing from the sphere of the invention as will be explained by the following claims.