FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention maximizes the use of a cutting process, such as a laser cutting process, to separate daughter panels on a large EC panel by allowing the cut daughter panel to include the region associated with a starter crack. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method of cutting an electrochromic panel from a substrate and an electrochromic panel according to the preamble of claims 1 and 11 (see, for example, WO 2011/109688 A1
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Electrochromic devices prepared as laminates are known in the art. By way of example only, a laser cutting process may be used to prepare electrochromic (EC) panels on 2.2 mm annealed float glass from a large master panel that will be laminated onto a heat-strengthened or tempered outer lite. A process for manufacturing an electrochromic device laminate is described in WO 2011/109388 A1
(corresponding to PCT application PCT /US2011/027148
It is believed that the use of annealed float glass for an EC application requires a careful treatment of the EC panel edge preparation in order to provide a strong enough edge to withstand in-service thermal stresses which are created by solar heating of the center of the panel. The analysis of stress generation and the increased protection afforded by use of laser cutting compared to conventional preparation methods are described in co-pending applications US Application Nos. 13/178,065
Conventionally, in order to prepare an EC panel having a sufficiently strong edge to withstand in-service thermal stresses, laser cutting of the EC panel must begin outside of the finished panel. This is because the portion of the panel at which the laser cutting begins would be subject to possibly weakened stress resistance levels. FIG. 1 shows an example layout for cutting custom sized EC panels from a master panel 10. In FIG. 1, the master panel 10 is prepared to be cut into daughter panels 12, 14, 16, and 18. In order to cut apart panels 14 and 16, a laser cut must be performed along line 15. In order to perform such a laser cut, the laser cut should not begin in the area reserved for any of panels 12, 14, 16 or 18. Therefore, waste areas 11 and 19, on the border and in the middle of the master panel 10, must be reserved for beginning the laser cuts.
In the example of FIG. 1, the starter crack, or starter cut, for line 15 is approximately 15 mm from the intersection among panels 14 and 16 and waste area 19, and approximately 15 mm from the border between panel 12 and waste area 19. Thus, the waste area 19 is a 'no-use' region in the middle of the master panel 10, approximately about 20- 25 mm in width. This would result in both a loss of useable area on the master panel as well as limit the customizability in daughter panel placement, and further reduces pattern yields. US 2003/209528 A1
is concerned with a laser cutter for cutting an object being cut such as a two glasses-attached panel for LCD using a laser beam. The laser cutter includes a laser unit for irradiating a laser beam with a specific wavelength along a marked cutting line of the object, a pre-scriber for forming a pre-cut groove at starting edge of the marked cutting line, and a cooling unit for cooling the cutting line which said laser beam has been irradiated. WO 2011/109688 A1
is concerned with a process of manufacturing an electrochromic device laminate comprising: (a) providing an electrochromic substrate; (b) cutting said electrochromic substrate into one or more substrate daughter panes; (c) fabricating a plurality of electrochromic device precursors on each of said one or more substrate daughter panes; (d) cutting each of said plurality of electrochromic device precursors into individual electrochromic devices; and (e) laminating each of said individual electrochromic devices to a separate outer laminate glass pane.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The disclosure provides for a method of laser scribing electrochromic panels such that reduces the amount of waste area or no-use regions in the preparation process, as compared to the above described conventional method.
A method of cutting an electrochromic panel from a substrate and an electrochromic panel according to the present invention are defined in claims 1 and 11 respectively.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a conventional arrangement for laser scribing of EC panels out of a master panel.
FIG. 2 is an arrangement for laser scribing of EC panels out of a master panel in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure.
FIG. 3 is another arrangement for laser scribing of EC panels out of a master panel in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure.
FIG. 4 is photoelastic image experimental data of an EC panel in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure.
FIG. 5 is a finite element (FE) simulation model of an EC panel in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure.
FIG. 6 is FE experimental data of an EC panel in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure.
FIG. 7 is bend test experimental data of an EC panel in accordance with an aspect of the disclosure.
The cutting process of the present disclosure is defined in claim 1. It includes: (a) creating a starter crack using a scribe wheel, (b) application of laser heating, and (c) subsequent cooling from a gas or an aerosol jet, as the laser beam and cooling jet move along the desired cutting line. This process may be applied to a pane of glass, a laminate, or other substrate.
In some examples, the cutting process may involve electrothermal cutting in place of laser heating/ scribing. Similarly, although the description presented herein describes an example cutting process involving a laser beam performing laser cutting, the laser beam may be replaced in those examples with an electrothermal cutting implement that focuses heat on a select portion of the substrate (i.e., in order to cut the substrate). The electrothermal cutting may then be followed with cooling from a gas or aerosol jet, as done in laser cutting methods, in the same manner as described below.
The cutting process begins by creating a starter crack. According to the present invention, the starter crack is a T-cut starter crack or is created using a scribe wheel, wherein the scribe wheel applies to the substrate with a force of 10 Newton or less, thereby at least partially cutting the glass such that the glass may be further cut by way of thermal stresses or thermal gradients to the glass. If a scribe wheel is used, the scribe wheel may be a typical glass cutting wheel, commonly used for mechanically separating panels of glass. For further example, other types of glass scribing tools, such as a sharpened diamond or carbide point, could potentially be used. The scribe wheel or other tool could be rotating or fixed, depending on the nature of the cut to be made (e.g., relatively straight cut, curved cut, etc.).
An amount of force is applied to the glass using the scribe wheel, and that force causes the glass to crack at the location at the starter crack location. The force is selected to be strong enough to crack the glass yet not too strong such that portions of the glass not contacted by the scribe wheel are also cut. The scribe wheel is applied to the substrate, according to the present invention, with a force of 10 Newton or less, preferably 8 Newton or less. This force creates a starter crack between about 5mm and about 6 mm wide, and between about 300 to about 1200 microns deep. Preferably the depth of the starter crack should be kept to a maximum of about 500 microns.
After forming the starter crack, the glass is scribed using a laser heating process (or alternatively, as referenced above, an electrothermal cutting process). Scribing begins from the location of the starter crack and continues in a continuous line, either until the edge of the glass or until the desired end of the laser cut. The continuous cutting line may be relatively straight or may be curved.
Laser heating may be performed using a continuous wave (CW) C02 laser. The CW laser may be operated at a typical wavelength of about 10,600 nanometers (nm), is strongly absorbed by silicate glasses, and is the preferred laser type. Other nearby C02 wavelengths could also be used. Of course, other wavelengths could be used, as long as the output is of a wavelength that is very much absorbed by the glass while effectuating a cut. It is believed that special glass compositions could accommodate specific alternate wavelengths, to achieve the required high absorption. In some examples, a pulsed laser may be used, provided that there is sufficient pulse overlap to provide for an effectively continuous, or "quasi-CW", beam. In many of these examples, the light emitted from the lasers is believed to be strongly, or very much, absorbed in the glass.
The beam power level should be matched to the area of the beam on the glass. For example, the beam power level for a relatively long beam, which may allow faster straight line motion, should be relatively higher. In some examples, a power density of about 1 to 2 W/mm2 is sufficient, but higher or lower densities may be used, given adherence to the limits described herein. For further illustration of the above described considerations, the Jenoptik system utilizes a beam having an ellipse of about 110mm in length and 2mm in width, and the laser power of that beam is about 300W at a wavelength of 10,600 nm.
The intensity of the laser beam focused on the glass is limited to values high enough to heat the area of the glass on which the beam is focused (e.g., to cause thermal stress cracking) yet low enough so as not to ablate material. Likewise, the temperature for the laser heating should be high enough to cause thermal stress cracking without being too high to cause softening to the glass surface or in the local vicinity of the surface.
The speed at which the laser beam (or, alternatively, electrothermal cutter, as referenced above) propagates the crack is further limited by the rate at which the laser beam can heat the glass. The laser beam may be propagated between about 50 millimeters per second and about 1000 millimeters per second. Preferably, the laser beam is propagated at about 200 millimeters per second. In order to increase the crack propagation rate, the focused area of the laser beam can be elongated in the direction of motion, allowing the laser beam to focus on each individual spot of the glass for longer time, thus providing a longer heating time for each respective spot at a higher motion rate. Such a motion rate should be selected such that it does not exceed the surface ablation damage threshold.
In those examples in which the crack follows a curved path (even in three dimensions, such as along a concave or convex surface), the long axis of the elongated beam must be oriented to be approximately tangent to the desired cutting path. There is a relationship between the path radius and the beam length, with shorter radii requiring shorter beam lengths. Thus, the curved path will require lower motion rates to achieve the same degree of heating.
Subsequent to the heating process, a gas or aerosol cooling jet may be focused on the laser heated portion of the glass. The cooling jet material composition may be chosen to maximize the cooling rate without contaminating the surface. In some examples, the cooling jet may be composed of a gas, vapor, or combination of the two. For example, pure gases such as nitrogen or hydrogen may be used, with or without vapors such as H20 or various alcohols. Using an aerosol cooling jet may reduce the size of the liquid droplets, which can reduce the flow rate of the coolant and improve the heat exchange efficiency of the cooling process.
While it is believed that the vapor may increase the heat capacity and cooling capacity of the jet, vapors may also introduce other complications to the heating and cooling process. The cooling jet material composition may include but is not bound to any requirement to include a vapor. For instance, water may not be desirable if the surface adjacent to the cut is moisture sensitive or adsorbs water vapor.
The cooling jet may be set up to trail the laser beam by a fixed amount of time. In some examples, the cooling jet may be set up to lag behind the laser between about 250 milliseconds and about 500 milliseconds. The distance between the laser and cooling jet may be a fixed distance that is determined based on the motion rate of the laser/cooling jet, and the amount of time that is it desired and/or allowable for the glass to be kept in a heated state. The fixed distance may be between about 50 millimeters and about 100 millimeters. There is an optimum range of separations between the tail of the elongated beam and the cooling jet which is believed to result in a uniform crack generation.
The general idea is to maximize the stress generated in the glass, caused by the temperature difference between the area under the trailing portion of the moving laser beam, and the area chilled by the following gas or aerosol jet. The position of the cooling jet should maximize the temperature gradient.
Again, in those examples in which the crack follows a curved path (e.g., a two dimensional curve, a three dimensional curve), the cooling jet, like the laser beam, must be capable of moving such that it may follow the same curved path as the laser beam. In some examples, the cooling just must also be able to move along that path at the desired separation.
The accompanying figures illustrate a few embodiments of a master panel in accordance with the above described laser cutting process. Those having ordinary skill in the art may be able to apply, alter, or otherwise modify what is described herein without departing from its spirit and scope. Therefore, what is illustrated is set forth only for the purposes of example and should not be taken as a limitation in the scope of the present disclosure.
Conventionally, the laser cutting, which begins at the starter crack, begins between about 10 mm to about 50 mm from the edge of the master panel. A distance of about 20 mm is typical. The area in which the starter crack is introduced is considered a "waste" area, since that area cannot be used for production of EC panels.
FIG. 2 depicts an example of a master panel 20 that is projected to be cut into three smaller panels. Each of the three smaller panels may be used as an EC device. Markers 21-26, which are only included in FIG. 2 for illustrative purposes and do not necessarily appear on the panel, indicate the points which each of the starter cracks will be made in order to cut out panels 27-29. Laser cutting of the panels will be conducted over the dotted lines. Each starter crack is the starting point for the laser cuts for the dotted line adjacent to that respective starter crack.
In some examples of the disclosure, the master panel may be further divided into a number of smaller custom-sized daughter panels. For example, FIG. 3 depicts a master panel 30 projected to be cut into five sections 31-35. In addition to edge starter cracks, at locations 41-46, T-Cut starter cracks 47-48 (named after the T-shaped intersection between the glass panels where the starter crack is formed) are also needed to divide panels 32-34 from one another.
Specifically, a T-cut is a separation line (two dimensional or three dimensional) between two areas that starts and/or stops against a third area. In some embodiments, the T-cut may be intended to separate the first two areas from each other not propagate into and weaken the edge of the third area, such that one feature of the T-cut is its termination. A crack may form a T-cut on one or both of its ends, depending on the payout of the panels. A mechanical shutter may be used to protect the edge against which the T-cut ends from the heating from T-cut beam path. Careful gating off and on of the laser while the T-cut is being propagated may also be used to protect the intersecting edge.
In the example of FIG. 3, the edge starter cracks are positioned in a shaded waste area 38. However, the T-cut starter cracks are positioned in the EC panel area itself and not in a waste area. Placing the T-cut starter crack in the EC panel is particularly beneficial for reducing the amount of waste produced when cutting EC panels, especially when cutting custom sized daughter panels from a master panel. An added benefit for inclusion of the starter crack in the daughter would be decreased laser ablated film areas required due the reduced number for laser cut scribes required.
The T-cut starter crack may be formed in any location of the EC panel provided that the starter crack is within about 10 mm to about 20 mm of the corner of the panel. Preferably the starter crack should be within about 15 mm of the corner. This constraint holds true for any size of master panel from which the smaller (e.g., custom sized) EC panel is cut.
Experimental tests have shown that edge stresses induced at the corners of an EC panel are small enough at such range from the corner to not pose a risk of cracking or failure under stress. For example, 2. 2mm thick float glass panels each about 300 x about 300 mm, and each having at least one starter crack on an edge near a panel corner, were tested for thermal stress interaction using a 250 x 250mm silicone heating pad (placed at the center of each glass panel) to induce edge stresses via a thermal gradient. The glass panels were heated until the panel cracked due to thermal stresses, but none of the fractures observed began at the respective starter crack areas.
Photoelastic images of other glass panels, about 1 square meter in size, heated by a series of silicone heating pads, each approximately 25 mm in size, further confirm the measured stress levels in the glass panels when subjected to thermal gradients. A photoelastic image is shown in FIG. 4. The image shows stresses developing from thermal gradients due to multiple silicone heating pads on a glass plate spanning approximately 1m long edge. The heating pads create a thermal gradient with respect to the edges that causes thermal tensile stresses (in this case up to about 28 MPa). The gaps between heating pads (lower 6T) show up as a decrease in stress levels in these regions. As depicted in FIG. 4, the thermal stresses are essentially zero near the corners.
Moreover, the experimental results have been corroborated in finite element modeling of panels subjected to thermal gradients. A finite element (FE) simulation model is shown in FIG. 5. The model data (quarter panel shown) shows temperature gradient and resultant maximum principal stress generation due to selected heating of a glass panel. In the example of FIG. 5, the stress generation is principally due to solar heating of the glass center while the edges are shadowed by a frame). As depicted in FIG. 5, the edge stresses in the corner are near zero, and the edge stresses build up to a steady state level.
Aside from stress introduced by thermal gradients, experimental tests have also shown that the glass panel corners having starter cracks within the above identified ranges have also been shown to experience very little risk of damage due to wind or static loading of the EC panel. For example, measured tensile stresses in the corner of an EC panel where the starter cracks are located suggest that the edge stress levels near the corners are low even for high uniform loads. FIG. 6 shows FE data of an EC panel that is attached to another panel via a metal or plastic spacer and affixed using a compliant adhesive, such as polyisobutylene and silicone, polyurethane, butyl or polysulfide. The FE data shows stress distribution associated with loading up to 5. 4kPa. The center of the panel is subjected to maximum tensile stresses of ∼16MPa (2300 psi), but the stresses near the corner are shown to be much lower (less than 2MPa or 300 psi)
For further assurance, bend test data has also shown that the strength associated with the starter crack for the TLS laser cutting process. FIG. 7 bend test data for a 2.2 mm thick glass having a starter crack under a variety of loads. FIG. 7 shows that the median strength of the glass is about 69 MPa (about 10000 psi).
Taken as a whole, the above simulated and experimental results provide assurance that the presence of the starter crack within between about 10 mm and about 20 mm of the corner of an EC panel does not pose a risk of failure of the EC panel. Furthermore, the present work has wider ramifications for applications that involve a potential corner defect associated with the fabrication of a panel made from a brittle material and subjected to in-service edge stresses, outside of the specific application of electrochromic glazing.
This disclosure also applies to any other type of application where laser edge cut glass is used for its edge strength quality and present an area of the edge where the stress is lower than in other regions in the application (e.g. other type of active glazings and absorbing glasses).
A method of cutting an electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29) from a substrate (20) with an edge, being characterised by
the method, comprising:
creating a starter crack (41-48) on the substrate (20);
heating the starter crack (41-48) through one of laser heating or electrothermal heating; and
cooling the heated starter crack (41-48) to form the electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29), wherein the electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29) has an edge with: the starter crack (41-48) and a laser cut border or an electrothermally cut border;
wherein the starter crack (41-48) is adjacent to the laser cut border or the electrothermally cut border,
wherein the starter crack is a T-cut starter crack (47, 48), or
wherein the starter crack (41-48) is created using a scribe wheel wherein the scribe wheel applies to the substrate (20) with a force of 10 Newton or less.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the starter crack (41-48) is created within about 20 mm of a corner of the electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29).
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the starter crack (41-48) is between about 5 mm and 6 mm wide.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the starter crack (41-48) is between about 300 µm and about 1200 µm deep.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the starter crack (41-48) is created using a scribe wheel.
The method of claim 1, wherein heating the starter crack (41-48) further comprises:
providing a continuous wave or quasi-continuous wave laser that emits a light that is capable of being substantially absorbed by the substrate (20) and is capable of causing thermal stress cracking to the substrate (20) without causing softening of the substrate (20); and
focusing said light on the starter crack (41-48).
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising heating a portion of the substrate (20) along a line beginning at the starter crack (41-48).
8. The method of claim 7, further comprising cooling the heated portion of the substrate (20), wherein the cooling of a segment of the portion of the substrate (20) begins between about 250 milliseconds and about 500 milliseconds after said segment is heated.
9. The method of claim 7, wherein the heating is performed along a curved line.
10. The method of any of claims 1-9, wherein the starter crack (41-48) is from 5 mm to 6 mm wide and between 300 to 1200 microns deep.
11. An electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29) produced according to a method of any of claims 1-10, said electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29) comprising at least one laser cut border and being characterised by further comprising a starter crack (41-48) within about 20 mm of a corner adjacent to the at least one laser cut border, wherein the starter crack (41-48) is from 5 mm to 6 mm wide and between 300 to 1200 microns deep.
12. The electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29) of claim 11, wherein said border is a thermally stress cracked border, the thermal stress crack beginning at the starter crack (41-48) and extending along the border.
The electrochromic panel (27, 28, 29) of claim 11, wherein at least one of:
said corner experiences essentially zero thermal stress when a heating pad placed on the panel (27, 28, 29) causes thermal tensile stresses of up to about 28 MPa to another portion of the panel (27, 28, 29);
said corner experiences less than about 2.07 MPa (less than about 300 psi) when the center of the panel (27, 28, 29) is subjected to tensile stress of about 15.8 MPa (about 2300 psi);
said panel (27, 28, 29) has a median strength of about 69 MPa (about 10,000 psi).
Verfahren zum Schneiden einer elektrochromen Platte (27, 28, 29) von einem Substrat (20) mit einer Kante, durch das Verfahren gekennzeichnet, umfassend:
Erzeugen eines Startrisses (41-48) auf dem Substrat (20);
Erwärmen des Startrisses (41-48) durch eines von Lasererwärmung oder elektrothermischer Erwärmung; und
Abkühlen des erwärmten Startrisses (41-48) zum Bilden der elektrochromen Platte (27, 28, 29), wobei die elektrochrome Platte (27, 28, 29) eine Kante mit Folgendem aufweist:
dem Startriss (41-48) und einem lasergeschnittenen Rand oder einem elektrothermisch geschnittenen Rand;
wobei der Startriss (41-48) benachbart zu dem lasergeschnittenen Rand oder dem elektrothermisch geschnittenen Rand ist,
wobei der Startriss ein T-geschnittener Startriss (47, 48) ist, oder
wobei der Startriss (41-48) unter Verwendung eines Ritzrads erzeugt wird, wobei das Ritzrad mit einer Kraft von 10 Newton oder weniger auf das Substrat (20) aufgebracht wird.
2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Startriss (41-48) innerhalb von etwa 20 mm von einer Ecke der elektrochromen Platte (27, 28, 29) erzeugt wird.
3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Startriss (41-48) zwischen etwa 5 mm und 6 mm breit ist.
4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Startriss (41-48) zwischen etwa 300 µm und etwa 1200 µm tief ist.
5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Startriss (41-48) unter Verwendung eines Ritzrads erzeugt wird.
6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Erwärmen des Startrisses (41-48) ferner Folgendes umfasst:
Bereitstellen eines Dauerstrichlasers oder Quasi-Dauerstrichlasers, der Licht aussendet, das durch das Substrat (20) im Wesentlichen absorbiert werden kann und in der Lage ist, thermische Spannungsrisse auf dem Substrat (20) zu verursachen, ohne ein Erweichen des Substrats (20) zu verursachen; und der das Licht auf den Startriss (41-48) fokussiert.
7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, ferner das Erwärmen eines Teils des Substrats (20) entlang einer Linie umfassend, die an dem Startriss (41-48) beginnt.
8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, ferner das Abkühlen des erwärmten Teils des Substrats (20) umfassend, wobei das Abkühlen eines Segments des Teils des Substrats (20) zwischen etwa 250 Millisekunden und etwa 500 Millisekunden nach dem Erwärmen des Segments beginnt.
9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, wobei das Erwärmen entlang einer gekrümmten Linie durchgeführt wird.
10. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei der Startriss (41-48) 5 mm bis 6 mm breit und zwischen 300 und 1200 Mikrometer tief ist.
11. Elektrochrome Platte (27, 28, 29), die gemäß einem Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10 hergestellt wurde, wobei die elektrochrome Platte (27, 28, 29) mindestens einen lasergeschnittenen Rand umfasst und dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass sie ferner einen Startriss (41-48) innerhalb von etwa 20 mm einer Ecke, die benachbart zu dem mindestens einen lasergeschnittenen Rand ist, umfasst, wobei der Startriss (41-48) 5 mm bis 6 mm breit und zwischen 300 und 1200 Mikrometer tief ist.
12. Elektrochrome Platte (27, 28, 29) nach Anspruch 11, wobei der Rand ein thermisch spannungsgerissener Rand ist, wobei der thermische Spannungsriss an dem Startriss (41-48) beginnt und sich entlang des Rands erstreckt.
Elektrochrome Platte (27, 28, 29) nach Anspruch 11, wobei mindestens eines von Folgendem stattfindet:
die Ecke erfährt im Wesentlichen keine thermische Spannung, wenn ein auf die Platte (27, 28, 29) angeordnetes Erwärmungskissen thermische Zugspannungen von bis zu etwa 28 MPa an einem anderen Teil der Platte (27, 28, 29) verursacht;
die Ecke weniger als etwa 2,07 MPa (weniger als etwa 300 psi) erfährt, wenn die Mitte der Platte (27, 28, 29) einer Zugspannung von etwa 15,8 MPa (etwa 2300 psi) ausgesetzt wird;
die Platte (27, 28, 29) eine mittlere Festigkeit von etwa 69 MPa (etwa 10.000 psi) aufweist.
Procédé de découpe d'un panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29) à partir d'un substrat (20) comportant un bord, le procédé se caractérisant par
la création d'une fissure de départ (41-48) sur le substrat (20) ;
le chauffage de la fissure de départ (41-48) par un chauffage au laser ou par un chauffage électrothermique ; et
le refroidissement de la fissure chauffée de départ (41-48) pour former le panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29), le panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29) comportant un bord doté de :
la fissure de départ (41-48) et d'une bordure coupée au laser ou d'une bordure coupée électrothermiquement ;
la fissure de départ (41-48) étant adjacente à la bordure coupée au laser ou à la bordure coupée électrothermiquement,
la fissure de départ étant une fissure de départ en T (47, 48), ou
la fissure de départ (41-48) étant créée à l'aide d'une roue à tracer, la roue à tracer s'appliquant au substrat (20) selon une force inférieure ou égale à 10 newtons.
2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la fissure de départ (41-48) est créée à environ 20 mm d'un coin du panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29).
3. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la fissure de départ (41-48) a une largeur comprise entre environ 5 mm et 6 mm.
4. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la fissure de départ (41-48) a une profondeur comprise entre environ 300 µm et environ 1 200 µm.
5. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la fissure de démarreur (41-48) est créée à l'aide d'une roue à tracer.
6. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le chauffage de la fissure de départ (41-48) comprend en outre :
l'utilisation d'un laser à onde continue ou à onde quasi continue qui émet une lumière qui est capable d'être sensiblement absorbée par le substrat (20) et qui est capable de provoquer une fissuration par contrainte thermique sur le substrat (20) sans provoquer de ramollissement du substrat (20) ; et la focalisation de ladite lumière sur la fissure de départ (41-48).
7. Procédé selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre le chauffage d'une partie du substrat (20) le long d'une ligne commençant au niveau de la fissure de départ (41-48).
8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre le refroidissement de la partie chauffée du substrat (20), le refroidissement d'un segment de la partie du substrat (20) commençant entre environ 250 millisecondes et environ 500 millisecondes après chauffage dudit segment.
9. Procédé selon la revendication 7, dans lequel le chauffage est effectué le long d'une ligne courbe.
10. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, dans lequel la fissure de départ (41-48) a une largeur de 5 mm à 6 mm et une profondeur comprise entre 300 et 1 200 microns.
11. Panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29) produit selon un procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, ledit panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29) comprenant au moins une bordure découpée au laser et se caractérisant en ce qu'il comprend en outre une fissure de départ (41-48) à moins d'environ 20 mm d'un coin adjacent à l'au moins une bordure découpée au laser, la fissure de départ (41-48) ayant une largeur de 5 mm à 6 mm et une profondeur de 300 à 1 200 microns.
12. Panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29) selon la revendication 11, dans lequel ladite bordure est une bordure fissurée par contrainte thermique, la fissure de contrainte thermique commençant au niveau de la fissure de départ (41-48) et s'étendant le long de la bordure.
Panneau électrochromique (27, 28, 29) selon la revendication 11, dans lequel :
ledit coin subit une contrainte thermique essentiellement nulle lorsqu'un coussin chauffant placé sur le panneau (27, 28, 29) provoque des contraintes de traction thermique allant jusqu'à environ 28 MPa sur une autre partie du panneau (27, 28,29) ;
ledit coin subit moins d'environ 2,07 MPa (moins d'environ 300 psi) lorsque le centre du panneau (27, 28, 29) est soumis à une contrainte de traction d'environ 15,8 MPa (environ 2 300 psi) ; et/ou
ledit panneau (27, 28, 29) a une résistance médiane d'environ 69 MPa (environ 10 000 psi).