Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby lilacdragon » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:16 pm

Hi, Janed.

I've tested, for Andy, the UV transmission of two of these semi-transparent plastics that are used for polytunnels: the Sunmaster Clear that you've found, and another one called Lumisol UVT. They are both slightly milky in the way that polytunnel plastics always are, they diffuse the light brilliantly but you can't see things very clearly through them. I compared them with the crystal-clear UV-transmitting sunbed acrylic sheeting (that is nice for glazing greenhouses, but very hard to get hold of in the UK and FAR more expensive). Attached is the transmission graph - which I sent to Andy. I suspect it may appear in a Tortoise Trust publication soon... :)
You can see that in the range of wavelengths found in sunlight which are crucial for vitamin D synthesis, the acrylic is superior, but both the plastic sheets perform really well... the Lumisol being definitely better than the Sunmaster.
As for UVA - enabling reptiles to see their whole "rainbow" - all products are superb. (Some ordinary plastic sheeting, for example, blocks ALL UVA and UVB....)

Best wishes,
Frances
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Frances Baines
www.uvguide.co.uk
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Bigjoe » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:36 pm

Hi Fances
Would you know where I could purchase crystal-clear UV-transmitting sunbed acrylic sheeting from,google search came up with nothing of any help to me.
Thank you and best regards
Joe
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Janed » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:47 pm

Frances, thank you so much for your speedy and full reply. I'm really grateful. We're in the process of erecting a fruit cage (bought cheaply and second-hand) which is about 40ft x 20ft, for our 3 spur-thighed females. My husband has put a concrete slab all the way around the bottom to stop them digging under it, and the bottom, all the way round, has a wooden "fence" made of 2 gravel boards on top of each other. I'm getting excited about "furnishing" it for them. They currently inhabit the real fruit cage so I have to make sure I'm always in there picking any fruit, although they do manage to get the odd raspberry and gooseberry - it will be good to get them out of there.

I'm assuming that any structure with a plastic roof, like the lumisol, will be fine for their daytime basking. But if I want them to stay outside overnight in the spring and autumn as well as summer, I will have to provide something more substantial and well-insulated as I presume any structure with a thin sheet roof will be far too cold overnight. We were thinking that, maybe, we would build them a warm house with an exit to the outside but with another exit to the basking structure, which will also have an exit to the outside. Does that make sense?

Thankyou again, Jane
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby lilacdragon » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:03 pm

Hi, BigJoe.
The best quality UVT acrylic sheets look like glass, and will permit approximately 85% transmission of solar UVB, and over 90% of solar UVA and visible light. Unfortunately, it is nowadays very difficult to find single flat sheets of acrylic for glazing windows, which have not had additives blended into the plastic which block out the UV.
The only way to buy this in the UK is to order “sunbed acrylic”, and unfortunately this is a rather unusual purchase so you may be told you need to buy a whole enormous 6ft sheet as a minimum order, because few companys keep it in stock. ... Also, it is rather thin (2-3mm thick) and so not ideal for outdoor glazing. 2-3mm sheets are quite flexible, and may not be strong enough to resist heavy rain, snow, hail and wind. But in 2010 I bought enough to half-glaze my 6ft x 8ft greenhouse and it is excellent for the summer, although the first autumn, several sheets blew out in a storm so I take out the panels and store them in the garage through the winter.
Trade names include Perspex, Plexiglas and Policril... but all these can also be purchased with UV Block, so make sure you order the right UV-transmitting type!

I enquired around numerous plastics specialists and finally found one company where they really knew what they were talking about, and were incredibly helpful and went to a lot of trouble to get exactly what I wanted. This is a small company in Scotland who are genuine specialists in plastic sheeting, called Q D Plastics (Glasgow) Ltd (http://www.qdplastics.co.uk/ ) tel 01389-762377
The person I dealt with was Ian Thompson, he was really helpful and even discussed my "cutting plan" for my sheet, to make sure I got the best out of it.
The material I got was Policril HP - but this was what he could get at the time. There are probably others. I bought a whole sheet and they cut it into panels for me; it was exactly what I wanted.

Another company that also said that they could source whole sheets for me, and would cut them up for me, was BayPlastics (where the test piece used in the graph above came from) - in fact they now have a web page that mentions the use of this acrylic for reptiles!
http://www.plasticstockist.com/UV-Grade-Acrylic-Sheet/Clear-Sunbed-Grade-Uv-Perspex-Acrylic-Sheet.aspx

The second best thing is the “High Light Transmission” glass used by architects to achieve maximum light in modern, expensive new buildings. This is “low-iron” glass and is much more expensive than ordinary glass. It must not have any special “UV-blocking” coatings – which are often applied by the factory because they assume people don’t want UV. If no UV block is applied, this glass can allow 50 - 55% of the UVB through, and at least 75% of the UVA.
It is important to keep the sheets as thin as possible (thicker sheets absorb more UV).
I have tested 4mm thickness samples of two brands: Pilkingtons Optiwhite
http://www.pilkington.com/products/bp/b ... efault.htm
and Asahi Glass Company (AGC) Planibel Clearvision.
http://www.yourglass.com/agc-glass-euro ... ption.html
But I am sure many other brands exist. I believe this type is well worth the extra cost, because of the large amount of UVA and visible light that gets through.... and the UVB is an important additional bonus.
I haven't purchased any of this myself but a friend who keeps turtles and tortoises found that a local glazier was happy to order a small amount for him and cut it to size.
Frances Baines
www.uvguide.co.uk
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby lilacdragon » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:14 pm

Hi, Jane.
We were thinking that, maybe, we would build them a warm house with an exit to the outside but with another exit to the basking structure, which will also have an exit to the outside.

It sounds great - I think this thread has some lovely experimental designs along these lines already, and Andy Highfield is writing something right now as far as I know...
So maybe, "watch this space"! :)
Frances Baines
www.uvguide.co.uk
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Tortoise Trust » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:45 am

Yes... we are almost there. Had to hold off on some final tests because we have been having SHADE TEMPERATURES of 38C here recently! Hot even for here...

However, we do have the design finalised and I am writing it all up now.

Very, very pleased with the results we have been getting. I hope it will really make a difference.
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Bigjoe » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:44 pm

Hi Francis thank you very much for the info you have given.
Best regards
Joe
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Kaarina.rantala » Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:29 pm

Joe, I found the pics of yor outside farm today. It is really impressive!! And technically perfect. And having read this thread I am really impressed by your and Andys research project! You really produve valuable knowledge for all tortoise keepers. Bowing at that. :D

Finland has snow cover for 4 months and during that time the sun is so weak that humans have take a D3 supplement because no D3 synthesis occurs. With normal winter temperatures hovering around minus 5 and -20'C, an inside table is the only possibility for overwintering. But you have just saved the spring and autumn for us!! The sun is still powerful enough to produce the greenhouse effect, but outside in the open the temperature stays at hibernation level: +5 to +10'C. So if we can build a tortoise pen with UVB permeable plastic, the tortoise could live outside three, even four months longer.

That would give him 3-4 more months of ample roaming space, natural sun exposure, more stable hydration, better crazing possibilities than inside.... As Andy said, this is revolutionary! Because being able to offer UV exposure in a windy +7 'C in May not a case for celebration...
***************************
Kaarina Rantala
Testudo marginata born 9/2013 named Bolt
Finland husband and two boys Roy 5 and Dan 3
No previous experience of tortoises
Professional gardener and landscape designer my company: www.puutarhapalvelucreative.fi
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Bigjoe » Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:25 pm

Hi Kaarina glad you like the boys outside pen..all credit to Andy I just built it and took data readings..great fun and some very interesting temp readings.
I do recall it was a very hot day last July I decided to get into the pen with all covers on to take accurate readings..boy was it hot in there..after a few minutes I had to get out..it's only been since last week that we have had them inside on very cold / wet days ..they love it in there,both have free roam of the yard but will head for there pen and sit and wait to be put back in.
I have a few more projects on the go at the moment,when they are all done I will start on the Turtle outside pond that will incorporate the frames like on my pen...gets kinda like a full time job but I love it.
Joe
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Re: Coldframe / Cloche experiment for you

Postby Kaarina.rantala » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:16 pm

Now you are makin me curious!!! :D
***************************
Kaarina Rantala
Testudo marginata born 9/2013 named Bolt
Finland husband and two boys Roy 5 and Dan 3
No previous experience of tortoises
Professional gardener and landscape designer my company: www.puutarhapalvelucreative.fi
Kaarina.rantala
 
Posts: 389
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:02 pm
Location: Finland, the metrpolitan area

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