The diversity of coverings for the greenhouse and other plant production structures has increased dramatically during the past 4 decades. This has resulted from the availability of new types of covering materials and enhancements of previously existing materials, as well as the demands for technological improvements within the expanding controlled environment agricultural industry. The types of coverings currently available are dominated by plastics. These range from traditional glass to the recent advent of polymer plastics, such as thin films or multilayer rigid thermoset plastic panels. Available enhancements such as ultraviolet radiation (UV) degradation inhibitors, infrared radiation (IR) absorbency, and anti-condensation drip surfaces, as well as their physical and spectral properties are discussed. The selection of specific covering alternatives has implications for the greenhouse superstructure and its enclosed crop production system.
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