Scientists Develop Cheaper, More Flexible Smart Window Material

Posted: Aug 22 2016, 11:57pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 23 2016, 12:01am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Scientists Develop Cheaper, More Flexible Smart Window Material
Credit: Cockrell School of Engineering

The new smart glass could be incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or even curved glass surfaces and will have the ability to block or let light pass through the surface

With the invention of new flexible window material, window shades or blinds will soon become a thing of the past.

Researchers from University of Texas have created a new cheaper and flexible smart material for windows, sunroofs or sunscreens. When incorporated into a surface, it provides a control over both heat and light from the Sun.  

The thing that sets the new smart material apart from the existing ones is that it is applied to plastic. Coating a material on plastic makes it cost efficient and lighter than conventional smart materials which are needed to apply to glass surfaces. The technology will allow consumers to block some or all with just small electric charge and help save billions of dollars on cooling, heating and lighting costs. 

New smart window material involves low temperature process and results in an amorphous structure, meaning its atom or smallest unit lacks a definite shape as would be found in conventional smart glasses. Researchers suggests that this unconventional coating produced by low temperature process is flexible and twice as much efficient than its high-temperature processed counterpart. 

"There's relatively little insight into amorphous materials and how their properties are impacted by local structure. But, we were able to characterize with enough specificity what the local arrangement of the atoms is, so that it sheds light on the differences in properties in a rational way." Delia Milliron, one of the researchers involved in the study said.

Currently, the new material is not in a physical form. Theoretical framework is already there. However, the next biggest challenge will be to create a flexible material on a low temperature that is more energy efficient than current materials produced by conventional high temperature processes. 


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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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