Scientists Invent Heat-Regulating Building Material

Aug. 2, 2011


Energy efficient heating and cooling options have acquired vast interest in the recent years, but scientists in China may have found the ultimate solution.

Energy efficient heating and cooling options have acquired vast interest in the recent years, but scientists in China may have found the ultimate solution.

Researchers based at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) discovered a new material that can retain and release heat according to specific temperature requirements.

They believe their invention could offer considerable energy savings and change the way we heat and cool our buildings.

The energy storage phase change material (PCM) has possesses a larger energy storage capacity with faster thermal response than existing materials and could be cheaply manufactured.

If the desired temperature in a room is 22°C, the material can be adjusted so that it starts absorbing any excess heat above that temperature.

The heat-regulating material, devised by researchers at the University’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies, could be applied anywhere, from walls and roofs to wallpaper.

The material is the size of a large coin and can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes. It also can be used in both existing and new buildings.

“The construction industry produces more carbon emissions than any other industry in the world,” says Professor Jo Darkwa Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies. “This material, if widely used, could make a major impact in the world’s efforts to reduce carbon emission.”

Although the material has extraordinary temperature controlling abilities, it will not diminish the need for other methods of heating and cooling.

“The material won’t make air-conditioners obsolete, because you still need an air conditioner to control humidity and air movement. This material purely reduces the amount of excessive heat energy in a room,” said Professor Darkwa.

The material could potentially save up to 35 percent of energy in a building and scientists believe it could also be used in solar panels and LED (light-emitting diode) lighting to enhance the efficiency of these alternative energy-generating technologies.

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