This new kind of window coating keeps interiors cool without air conditioning


Glass buildings could one day use a new coating capable of partially blocking the heat emitted by the sun. Photo: AFP

American and South Korean researchers have developed a transparent window coating with properties that can cool the inside of buildings by "blocking" the sun's heat.

A building covered with this type of solution could theoretically save a third of the energy usually expended on air conditioning.

This new coating has the ability to block ultraviolet rays and infrared light from the sun, which usually heat the interior of a room when it's hot outside, according to research published in the scientific journal ACS Energy Letters.

The challenge, however, was to make this new structure both efficient and transparent. To achieve this, the researchers made the "transparent radiative cooler", as they call it, of thin layers of different materials such as silicon dioxide, silicon nitride, aluminum oxide and titanium dioxide.

All this was placed on a glass base and covered with a film of polydimethylsiloxane. The order and combination of the layers were determined by quantum computing and machine learning.

This computational method allows the coating quality to be optimised very quickly by efficiently testing all possible combinations in a fraction of a second.

The result has already proven to be more efficient than the best heat reduction glass products on the market. Note that this technique could be used to optimise the manufacture of other types of composite materials with completely different properties.

If adopted, the film cooler concept could reduce energy consumption related to air-conditioning systems by 31.1% compared to conventional windows.

It would not replace a real air conditioner, but less energy would be required to keep the building interior cool in summer. — AFP Relaxnews

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