Gentex announced yesterday that Airbus will adopt its electro-chromed windows and offer them as an option to airlines, like what passengers on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner already know.
The announcement made at CES in Las Vegas on January 6, 2020, will not be detailed until March, during the Aircraft Interiors show. But a statement Gentex Corporation, based in Michigan, said that the European manufacturer « now offers the latest generation of electrochromic windows on its planes. » The EDW (Electronically dimmable windows) allow passengers to selectively darken the airplane portholes while allowing them to see the scenery outside. These EDW not only eliminate the need for traditional shutters, but they also incorporate « a heat control solution that prevents infrared energy from entering the cabin from the outside », thereby reducing dependence on air conditioning systems as well the weight of the aircraft. The EDW Gentex offer « a high-speed transition between light and dark and a new transmission low range of ultra-dark »; compared to previous models (found as standard on the 787 Dreamliner), the latest EDWs darken twice as fast and become « 100 times darker, effectively removing more than 99.999% of visible light ».
Airbus EDWs have been specially designed to be an « in-line replaceable monoblock unit », to facilitate installation and maintenance. They also have a « more durable and scratch-resistant » dust cover. EDWs use an exclusive electro-chromic gel encapsulated between two thin glass panels, which darkens or lightens in response to a low voltage electrical impulse which passes through conductive coatings and through glass panels « to induce an electrochemical reaction in the gel which causes it to darken ”. The removal of the tension allows the gel to return to its natural and transparent state.
« We have worked with Airbus to integrate the latest variable intensity window technology while refining it with an additional special coating, » Gentex CEO Steve Downing said in the release. EDWs « benefit aircraft operators and passengers, ultimately improving the user experience for everyone on board. » Airbus did not comment on the news.