Seeing the sunlight stream through the windows in the early mornings can be quite a tranquil setting, but come mid-day when the sun is at its hottest, maybe then you might be wishing for some curtains. However in Harvard in a bid to lower air-conditioning bills but keeping their windows open, they have developed self-cooling windows which not only let in the light, but also ensures that the heat associated with the light does not come through as well!
This is thanks to researchers at Harvard University who used a bioinspired microfluidic circulatory system to develop these self-cooling windows. This particular system has been likened to the same bodily functions found in animals and humans, where a network of tiny blood vessels near the surface of our skin dilate when we are hot, thus transferring heat from our body into the surrounding air through our skin.
These self-cooling windows also feature ultrathin channels near the “skin” of the window in which water can also be pumped through to help the cooling process. In fact this particular circulatory system can also be used on rooftop solar panels which are exposed to the sun for a good part of the day, helping them cool down which in turn will help them generate electricity more efficiently.
As it stands, the results of their experiment with these self-cooling windows has found that half a can of soda’s worth of water is enough to cool a full-sized window pane by 8C (14F). The researchers are now planning to work with architecture researchers to find out just how much energy could be saved if such windows were to be incorporated in a full-sized building.
[Image credit – Rado Javor]
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