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Bio-Inspired Design Leads to Energy-Efficient Windows


Vascular SystemThe vascular networks of living organisms have inspired an innovative new type of energy-efficient window.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have created windows that limit heat loss during winter and provide a cooling effect during the summer. In laboratory experiments, the result has been a cooling of between 7 and 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers think that their new technique/design could be applied to solar panels, working to increase their functional efficiency thanks to the cooling effect.

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) makes up the elastomer sheets which include channels that provide room-temperature water the ability to flow through. The moving water initiates the thermal controlling effects.

An additional cooling mechanism for building windows and a new thermal control tool for building design is provided by the artificial vascular network that exists between a transparent layer that is composed of channels on the micrometer to millimeter scale.

The researchers call the experiment a  ”bio-inspired approach to thermal control for cooling (or heating) building window surfaces.”

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