Clever Coating Opens Door to Smart Windows

The current energy-saving “smart glass” can be used in some ways to shield the heat from the sun and reduce the need to run the air-conditioning system. However, such systems still require electricity to run. Now, scientists from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) in Australia have developed a coating that makes existing glass intelligent and requires no electricity.

Vanadium dioxide

The self-regulating coating is made of relatively inexpensive vanadium dioxide, the thickness of which is only 50 to 150 nanometers that are about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Vanadium dioxide acts as an insulator and helps prevent indoor heat from passing through the glass under the surface temperature of 67 ℃or below. Under the temperature higher than 67 ℃, however, it will be converted to prevent heat caused by the infrared radiation from the sun into the metal. This means that the room is warmer when the temperature is lower, and cooler when the temperature is higher, which will reduce the use of heating and air conditioning systems. Besides that, the users can also use the dimmer switch to cover the coating’s light blocking effect.

vanadium dioxide

Previously, a special layer or platform had to be created on the surface in order to apply the vanadium dioxide coating. However, the RMIT team has developed a way to apply coating directly to surfaces such as glass without the need for a platform, and now the team hopes the system will be commercialized as soon as possible.

“Our technology will probably lower the cost of air conditioning and heating and dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. Our energy crisis solutions come not only from renewable sources but also from smart technologies that eliminate energy waste.” Madhu Bhaskaran said, the chief scientist.

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