These windows adapt to each season in one click without sacrificing the view

2023-09-26 14:38:54

American researchers have developed a new type of electrochromic glass capable of blocking heat while remaining transparent, in addition to the usual opaque or transparent modes. This would significantly reduce the need for air conditioning in glass buildings in summer at the touch of a button.

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A window pane that turns opaque at the press of a button, in other words electrochromic glass, is nothing new. However, this technology only has two modes: transparenttransparent or opaque. In an article published in the journal ACS Publicationsresearchers from North Carolina State University have managed to create a new window with a third mode which only blocks the infrared spectrum.

Thus, in a building equipped with these windowswindows, it will be possible to block the heatheat from the sunsun in summer to limit the need for air conditioningair conditioning while keeping the windows transparent to the naked eye. These same windows can be entirely transparent to let in the heat of the sun in winter, or entirely opaque to darken a room or even to preserve privacy.

Just add water

This new technology is based on the same principle as the existing one, namely the use of tungsten oxide (WO3). This materialmaterial is transparent, but becomes opaque by injecting lithiumlithium ions and electronelectrons into it. The researchers found that by combining water to create tungsten oxide hydrate (WO3·H2O), they achieved a new behavior. By injecting lithium ions and electrons, the material first passes through a phase which exclusively blocks infrared light, allowing the visible spectrum to pass through. By then increasing the quantity of lithium ions and electrons, the structure deforms and becomes opaque, blocking the visible spectrum and the infrared.

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The researchers hypothesized that the crystal structure of this material makes it less dense, and therefore more resistant to deformation. It can absorb more lithium ions than tungsten oxide, changing its optical properties, before distorting to become opaque. The researchers hope that the use of this material, already well known in this field, will accelerate commercial development. They also believe that this approach could serve as inspiration for research in the field of energy storage and energy conversion materials.

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