Smart Window Blocks Heat, Generates Electricity
Buildings are going green and so it’s no surprise that researchers are working to develop smarter windows.
Among the smartest is a window designed by researchers at Shanghai University, led by Yanfeng Gao, which does triple duty: It’s transparent, regulates temperature fluctuations and doesn’t require external power to work.
The team’s goal was to find a way to merge a window with the power-generating capabilities of a solar panel, which typically isn’t transparent. Ideally, the researchers wanted to develop a window that would change its optical properties in response to temperature and do it without requiring power.
The answer was vanadium oxide. Gao’s team sandwiched a thin film of vanadium oxide between two layers of polycarbonate, the same material used in strong eyeglasses.
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