Reflector systems - the science behind their success

Introduction

In the early 1990s when I was a student I designed and patented a novel reflector system with the intent to revolutionise traditional indoor horticulture.

I poured the passion I had for my plants and their product into designing a reflector system capable of doubling my yields without increasing my electricity consumption. Currently, over 150 000 of these reflectors have been sold in Australia & New Zealand alone.

How they Became

The Adjust-A-Wings and Super-Spreader innovations were born of necessity (no money), with the aid of some logic (common sense), sustained on simplicity (lack of materials), and developed in a minimalist environment (a green thumb and the will to succeed).

Adjust-A-Wings: The simple way in which these reflectors are constructed produce many benefits for plants and gardeners. Logic & Simplicity. "Think like a plant - don't act like a vegetable".

Adjust-A-Wings are made from exotic materials of the highest quality, including glass coated flexible aluminium (95% reflective) and colour bonded spring steel (indestructible). These reflectors are precision tools designed to provide years of diligent service. They are supplied unassembled in discreet, space efficient packaging that is resistant to damage.

Their reflective curves are formed on assembly via a unique process where resistance (a property inherent to the sheet metal components) and tension (the force applied by the adjustment components) are kept in constant balance across the "wing span". From this relationship, strength, rigidity, and (best of all) adjustability are born without the need to incorporate bulky reinforcements or gross mechanisation. While Resistance is greater than and opposite to Tension, smooth precise dual - parabolic curves are formed that reflect light in efficient uniform patterns. This "minimalist" design does not require reflector end-plates to maintain its shape, therefore airflow around the lamp and wings is uninhibited, significantly reducing heat build up within the reflector and the entire grow-room. Hence the Adjust-A-Wings are capable of producing a "cool" broad even spread of light, with unmatched power and efficiency, for a wide range of applications.

The Super-Spreader (light spreader, heat deflector /dissipater) is a "v - shaped" perforated metal plate designed to fit just below horizontally mounted HID lamps, and reflect excess light and heat away from the "hot spot" towards grow-room extremities. At the same time a balanced portion of light is allowed to pass through the perforations to maintain uniformity across centre and edge portions of the growing enclosure. Removing the hotspot and spreading it strategically can deliver incredible benefits. Lights can be placed closer to plants than was ever dreamt of, area covered by each light is increased, light power and penetration is multiplied, and heat is greatly reduced. Yes its all true!

The Super-Spreader is a simple device that performs some "amazing tricks" using basic science;

The inverse square law

Most people reading this paper will be familiar with the inverse square law, "light intensity decreases at a rate equal to the inverse square (1/ X sq ) of the distance from its source". Eg) two times closer = Four times more intense, three times further away = nine times less intense ... etc.. etc. Horticultural lights fitted with Super-Spreaders can operate two times closer to the plant layer than is otherwise possible giving the grower four times the light to spread around!! With four times the light being splashed around, how much light actually makes it to the plants? Good question! Hope you like your maths! Read on.

Reflection Theory

"Reflected light incurs a loss in power, relative to the surface properties of the reflector". Eg) light striking a 90% reflective surface, immediately loses 10% of its power. "The angle of incidence ( light striking a reflective surface) is equal to the angle of reflection". The Super Spreader reflects approximately 25% of total light towards the grow-room extremities which, due to the angle of incidence, travels on average ?? times the distance it would have travelled if emitted by a standard reflector.

Light Output Comparison: Figures 1. & 2. below display the typical light pattern produced by Adjust-A-Wings reflector systems compared with that of other standard reflectors. The yellow lines create a visual display of light distribution and relative intensity. Note the troublesome "hot spot" and general unevenness of light produced by standard reflectors -
UN-Unified Field Chart
Maximising Productivity. Figure 2 (a). Portrays an "over head" view of a 1m sq crop illuminated by a lamp with standard horizontal reflector. The uneven light pattern causes an uneven growth pattern that severely limits productivity. Productivity could be more than doubled by supplying a broad even lighting pattern like those created by the Adjust -A- Wings reflectors.