Engineers develop eco-friendly panels that switch from transparent to opaque
Someday we won’t need curtains or blinds on our windows, and we will be able to block out light–or let it in–with just the press of a button. At least that’s what Keith Goossen, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware, hopes.
Goossen and Daniel Wolfe, who earned a doctoral degree from UD last year, developed panels that can switch between allowing light in and blocking it out. This “smart glass” technology could be utilized in eco-friendly windows, windshields, roof panes and building envelopes, absorbing light and heat in the winter and reflecting it away in the summer.
Although Goossen isn’t the first scientist to make smart glass, his team’s invention is about one-tenth the price of other versions. It is also more transparent in its transparent state and more reflective in its reflective state than competitors, he said.
Goossen shared his latest smart glass prototype on Monday, March 5 in a keynote address at the SPIE Smart Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation for Energy Systems IV conference in Denver.
Simple idea, clear results
The principles behind this smart glass technology are surprisingly simple. It starts with two sheets of plastic separated by a thin cavity. The plastic contains tiny cube-shaped structures that make the material retroreflective, meaning that it bounces light back to its source, like a bicycle reflector does.
Then the chamber is filled with a fluid called methyl salicylate–an inexpensive wintergreen extract that happens to be the active ingredient in some over-the-counter pain relief creams. This liquid has optical properties, or interaction with visible light, that match the optical properties of the retroreflective plastic. When combined, the light can pass through, and the system becomes transparent. This is called refractive index matching.
Goossen’s smart glass system can switch from transparent to reflective a thousand times without degrading, as shown in a paper published late last year in the journal Optics Express.
At this week’s conference, Goossen revealed a new, improved design.
Instead of utilizing cubes, this smart glass relies on the total internal reflection of one-dimensional structures layered perpendicularly. It is highly reflective at up to a 60-degree angle of incidence, an improvement over the previous prototype.
“It performed better than we thought it would based on our theoretical understanding,” he said.
Goossen uses 3-D printing to make his prototypes, but this technology could eventually be manufactured at a high volume and low cost using injection molding. He is now testing his system over a wide range of temperatures to see how it performs, especially as it approaches temperatures that could cause the fluid within to freeze, which will be between 3 and 16 degrees Fahrenheit, depending upon the eventual fluid that is used. Every time Goossen talks to a roomful of engineers about this project, hands go up with lots of questions.
“There is a lot of interest in the capability this might represent,” he said.
Commercialization may eventually follow–something Goossen is already well versed in. An author of 82 issued patents, he founded a startup company in 2001 that was later acquired. He passes his knowledge along to students as a co-teacher of High Technology Entrepreneurship, a course for undergraduate and graduate students that focuses on financial, legal, scientific and engineering issues facing tech startups.
Goossen also encourages students to be curious. This research project started with a hunch, which can be the impetus for scientific discovery.
“Sometimes it’s just an instinct about what might be interesting,” said Goossen.
Learn more: Smart glass made better, and cheaper
The Latest on: Smart glass
via Google News
The Latest on: Smart glass
- Global $3.5 Billion Smart Glass Market Review 2019on August 16, 2019 at 5:02 pm
DUBLIN, Aug. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Global Smart Glass Market: World Market Review By Technology, End-User Application, By Country (2019 Edition): Opportunities and Forecast (2014-2024 ...
- Australia Energy Efficient Glass Industry Business and Investment Opportunities Databook 2016-2018 & 2019-2025 - ResearchAndMarkets.comon August 16, 2019 at 6:37 am
Develop Market Specific Strategies: Identify growth segments and target specific opportunities to formulate your strategy; assess market specific key trends and risks in energy efficient glass ...
- Rivian will offer electrochromic glass roof for its electric pickup truck and SUVon August 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm
Rivian (@Rivian) August 13, 2019 Electrochromic glass roofs, also known as smart glass roofs, are pretty rare in the car industry. It is an option in the new ~$300,000 McLaren 720s. Tesla has also ...
- The world’s first-ever, ultra high-tech 'smart mini-city' is coming to Las Vegas — and building it will cost about $7.5 billionon August 15, 2019 at 10:19 am
The $7.5 billion real estate project is expected to break ground in December and will take about six years to complete.
- The iPhone has gotten boring. Here are 7 reasons to get excited about Apple’s rumored smart glasses instead.on August 13, 2019 at 9:59 am
Everyone wears glasses — either to block the sun, or improve their vision. Apple has an opportunity to make glasses that can do this, and way more.
- Active Smart Glasses Market Evolving Industry Trends and Key Insights 2019-2026 by Top Players: Saint Gobain, Gentex, Asahi Glass, Polytronixon August 13, 2019 at 7:10 am
New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/13/2019 -- The report on the Active Smart Glasses market employs both primary and secondary research to examine its import and export, demand and supply, consumption ...
- Buy Xiaomi Mi Band 4 and Huawei Honor Band 5 Smart Bracelets at Lowered Prices from Gearbest [Coupon]on August 12, 2019 at 10:23 pm
While the market is brimming with smart wearables that offer comparable features ... The display is protected with tempered 2.5D glass. The Honor Band 5 features a wide selection of dials that you can ...
- The sleek GLAS smart thermostat is losing Cortanaon August 12, 2019 at 12:56 pm
The GLAS smart thermostat was to be Cortana’s big expansion in the connected home, but the stylish glass HVAC controller is losing Microsoft’s assistant it has quietly warned owners. The unexpected ...
- BRAZILIAN GLASS FABRICATOR SER GLASS, RESEARCH...on August 12, 2019 at 11:38 am
All SPD film used to create LCG ® (light control glass) for SER will be produced by Gauzy in Germany with monthly shipments beginning next month. SPD-Smart light control film, invented and patented by ...
- Global Smart Glass Market: World Market - Opportunities and Forecast (2014-2024)on August 5, 2019 at 7:21 am
A comprehensive research report created through extensive primary research (inputs from industry experts, companies and stakeholders) and secondary research, the report aims to present the ...
via Bing News