Image distortion in glass: patents and technologies for perfectly sharp images

08/06/2022

What is distortion and why should it be avoided in the cockpit? Image distortion occurs when straight lines appear wavy, causing objects to look altered.

Perfect vision has always been the central focus when designing and manufacturing aircraft windshields. It is essential for the pilot to see his surrounding clearly and distinctly. Perfect visibility requires flat windshields installed almost perpendicular to the pilot's line of vision. Unfortunately, however, it is not always possible to use this type of windscreen; in supersonic aircraft, for example, the windshields need to be significantly slanted and conical or spherical in shape. With the state-of-the-art technologies and productions systems available to the company, Isoclima can design windshields requiring challenging installation shapes and angles, guaranteeing superior optics and minimising distortion caused by the production process.

 

Aerospace: why windshield geometry matters

Designing and defining windshield geometry is essential to eliminating image distortion. Two aspects of windshield geometry should be considered:

-                     angle of incidence,

-                     radius of curvature.

The angle of incidence is the angle between the line perpendicular to the surface of the windshield (the normal) and the pilot's line of vision incident on the surface,determined by the pilot's position in the cockpit. For aerodynamic purposes, to minimise the disturbance caused by the air flow along the aircraft fuselage, a wide angle of incidence is usually recommended; unfortunately, however, distortion increase exponentially as the angle of incidence increases. 

The radius of curvature is equally important.

The use of curved windshields is essential to grant the pilot an unobstructed view over wide viewing angles. However, a curved windshield distorts the image exponentially as the radius of curvature decreases.

 

Isoclima’s solutions to distortion

How have we resolved the problem of image distortion in glass? By patenting production techniques based on sophisticated optical systems.

Distortion can be caused by a variety of factors. It may depend on the shape of the windshield (curved ones generate distortion), or on surfaces that are not perfectly parallel as a result of production processes, particularly in windshields made up of multiple layers of laminated materials.

Isoclima produces laminated windscreens that offer a variety of characteristics, including:

-                     Impact resistance,

-                     Creation of heating surfaces,

-                     Resistance to atmospheric phenomena,

-                     A combination of the various characteristics of different materials.

 

Our proprietary production processes minimise the distortions caused by non-parallel surfaces, both in the presence of curvatures and of lamination.

In a company like ours, we understand that this is the basic element for first-rate, functional and reliable windshields ensuring clear and distinct vision in all flight operating conditions.

Optical distortion of the glass window