Earlier this week, scientists presented us with a new, inexpensive, thin material. Its purpose? To help cool down surfaces, even those that are under direct sunlight. As such, it may even come to replace air-conditioning in some systems.
The new, thin material was specifically developed to serve a very specific and necessary purpose. It can function as a sort of cooling unit. Some of its main advantages? It does not use water or energy. And it is also eco-friendly.
This new cooling solution was developed by University of Colorado, Boulder researchers. Ronggui Yang and Gang Tan are research co-authors. Research results were released last week. They were published in the Science journal.
Available online since February 09, the paper was titled as follows. “Scalable-manufactured randomized glass-polymer hybrid metamaterial for daytime radiative cooling”. In the paper, this new thin material was described and referred to as follows.
It is a randomized glass-polymer hybrid metamaterial, scalable-manufactured. It can be used in order to ensure daytime radiative cooling.
This new and inexpensive, thin material has quite some unusual properties. Ones that have yet to be observed in nature. Professor Ronggui went to offer some details. He is part of the CU-Boulder Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Ronggui pointed out one of the material’s key advantages. Thanks to its base technology, it can be used 24/7. And it also works without an energy and water source and help.
Gang Tan went to present the new material’s day-to-day possible usage. He is part of the University of Wyoming Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering. And according to him, their technology could be placed on top of homes.
Single-family residential houses could draw benefits from using this thin material. Some 10 to 20 square meters of the material could be placed on their rooftops. And serve as an air-conditioning system.
The thin material works as follows. It has to be placed on top of a structure’s surface. Its cooling effect works in two directions.
For one, this thin sheet helps reflect the incoming solar rays. As such, they will no longer heat up the contact surface. At the same time, the material also allows its base structure to eliminate heat. As such, the respective structure can also release its own infrared thermal radiation.
To put it more simply, the thin material works as follows. It cools down a structure as it enables heat elimination and also prevents the Sun from heating the designated surface area.
The new material is thin and reportedly quite easy to produce. This glass-polymer hybrid is reportedly just slightly thicker than a usual aluminum foil. And it could potentially be produced in rolls.
This eco-friendly technology could have a huge impact in the area. It may help provide a greener and maybe even cheaper cooling system. Some potential first usage areas have already been presented. They target a residential use. And also a thermoelectric power plants one.
The thin material could ensure the respective machines maintain a right operating temperature. And they do so without needing a huge electricity and water consumption.
Nonetheless, the research team is trying to determine potential new uses. Presently, they have filed for a patent. This could attest their new technology. At the same time, they are looking for new commercial uses for the thin material. One of the researchers presented their excitement on the matter. And also some potential new uses.
This thin material could come to be utilized in agriculture, the power industry, or the aerospace one.
For the moment, the CU-Boulder researchers have set out the following tasks. They will try to build a “cooling farm”. The 200 square meters prototype could be raised by the end of 2017.
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