milliron's

New flexible material can make any window ‘smart’

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a new flexible smart window material that, when incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or even curved glass surfaces, will have the ability to control both heat and light from the sun. Their article about the new material will be published in the September issue of Nature Materials.

Delia Milliron, an associate professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, and her team’s advancement is a new low-temperature process for coating the new smart material on plastic, which makes it easier and cheaper to apply than conventional coatings made directly on the glass itself. The team demonstrated a flexible electrochromic device, which means a small electric charge (about 4 volts) can lighten or darken the material and control the transmission of heat-producing, near-infrared radiation. Such smart windows are aimed at saving on cooling and heating bills for homes and businesses.

The research team is an international collaboration, including scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and CNRS in France, and Ikerbasque in Spain. Researchers at UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences provided key theoretical work.

Read more.

Novel material can make any window smart by controlling amount of light and heat from the sun

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a new flexible smart window material that, when incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or even curved glass surfaces, will have the ability to control both heat and light from the sun. Their article about the new material will be published in the September issue of Nature Materials.

Delia Milliron, an associate professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, and her team’s advancement is a new low-temperature process for coating the new smart material on plastic, which makes it easier and cheaper to apply than conventional coatings made directly on the glass itself.

READ MORE ON THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN | COCKRELL SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

Ref: Linear topology in amorphous metal oxide electrochromic networks obtained via low-temperature solution processing. Nature Materials (22 August 2016) | DOI: 10.1038/nmat4734

ABSTRACT

Amorphous transition metal oxides are recognized as leading candidates for electrochromic window coatings that can dynamically modulate solar irradiation and improve building energy efficiency. However, their thin films are normally prepared by energy-intensive sputtering techniques or high-temperature solution methods, which increase manufacturing cost and complexity. Here, we report on a room-temperature solution process to fabricate electrochromic films of niobium oxide glass (NbOx) and ‘nanocrystal-in-glass’ composites (that is, tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) nanocrystals embedded in NbOx glass) via acid-catalysed condensation of polyniobate clusters. A combination of X-ray scattering and spectroscopic characterization with complementary simulations reveals that this strategy leads to a unique one-dimensional chain-like NbOx structure, which significantly enhances the electrochromic performance, compared to a typical three-dimensional NbOx network obtained from conventional high-temperature thermal processing. In addition, we show how self-assembled ITO-in-NbOx composite films can be successfully integrated into high-performance flexible electrochromic devices.

New flexible material can make any window 'smart'

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a new flexible smart window material that, when incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or even curved glass surfaces, will have the ability to control both heat and light from the sun. Their article about the new material will be published in the September issue of Nature Materials.

Delia Milliron, an associate professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, and her team’s advancement is a new low-temperature process for coating the new smart material on plastic, which makes it easier and cheaper to apply than conventional coatings made directly on the glass itself. The team demonstrated a flexible electrochromic device, which means a small electric charge (about 4 volts) can lighten or darken the material and control the transmission of heat-producing, near-infrared radiation. Such smart windows are aimed at saving on cooling and heating bills for homes and businesses.

The research team is an international collaboration, including scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and CNRS in France, and Ikerbasque in Spain. Researchers at UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences provided key theoretical work.

Keep reading

A cheaper, more flexible smart window material

Credit: Cockrell School of Engineering

Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin, USA, have developed a new smart glass that could be incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or curved glass surfaces to block or let light pass through the surface.

The new material is an amorphous solid made from chemically condensed niobium oxide, which is less dense than similar materials, making it much more flexible and twice as energy efficient. The material is then applied to plastic rather than traditional glass. The team found coating the material on plastic makes the process more cost efficient and lighter than conventional smart materials. The technology will allow consumers to block some or all light with just small electric charge and to help lower energy costs.

Delia Milliron, Associate Professor at the University of Texas, said, ‘There’s relatively little insight into amorphous materials and how their properties are impacted by local structure. But we were able to characterise with enough specificity what the local arrangement of the atoms is, so that it sheds light on the differences in properties in a rational way.’

The next challenge for the team will be to create a flexible material on a low temperature that is more energy efficient than current materials produced by conventional high temperature processes. Milliron believes the research could inspire further research into amorphous materials for other applications, such as supercapacitors that store and release electrical energy rapidly and efficiently.