I recently mentioned my admiration for the CoeLux skylight, and how I’d love to have one or better yet see some kind of DIY version (since the real one costs an insane amount of money, and probably will for the next decade or more). It occurred to me at that time that a video I’d seen by DIY Perks had all the right components for this except the light scattering layer.
What I’ve learned since then is that apparently this layer is made with titanium dioxide nanoparticles embedded in plastic, which I might have mentioned, but I now have a rough idea of their size: 50 to 100nm. This comes from information in one of CoeLux’s patent filings, as best as I was able to parse the sucker. This size is considered “ultrafine”.
My stupid idea was that, although I have no workshop to speak of, it’d be cool to try mixing the requisite nanoparticles into a resin and letting that cure into a sheet, to test out its scattering properties and determine what amount of particles per unit of resin would be needed. I still kinda wish someone on YouTube with experience working with resins would try this. But there’s a catch.
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are, well, hard to come by. Maybe not very hard, if you’re comfortable searching obscure marketplaces, but there’s a reason you can’t buy them on Amazon. (Although I did find a link on Amazon for 20nm particles, for research. Kind of a dubious link, though.) The thing is, the ultrafine particles are considered potentially toxic. How toxic? Well, the jury’s still way out, so I’m not sure there’s any actual evidence of toxicity at all, but lung cancer isn’t the sort of thing you dick around with. If you use this stuff you’re really supposed to use serious safety precautions.
All of which means that no, I won’t be the one to try out this resin idea, and I’m pretty sure no third parties would be able to sell me a scattering sheet of this type for a reasonable price. (I’m not sure whether the patent involved impacts the material itself or just its use in lighting. If it covers the former, then you could DIY it but you couldn’t sell it without paying the licensing fee.) But it is a pity. I think an artificial sky would be a very nice thing to have some days, like today.