Environment

New 'smart windows' said to outperform previous efforts

New 'smart windows' said to ou...
Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lightened as needed
Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lightened as needed
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Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lightened as needed
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Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lightened as needed

Dimmable windows, in one form or another, have been with us for several years now. We've seen examples such as the manually-adjustable SPD-Smart motorcoach windows, the energy-harvesting Smart Energy Glass product, and the RavenWindow, which darkens or lightens according to the outside temperature. According to researchers from Korea's Soongsil University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute, however, such windows can be expensive, don't work properly for long enough, and require toxic substances in their manufacturing process. The team claims to have developed a system of their own, that has none of these drawbacks.

Scientists Ho Sun Lim, Jeong Ho Cho, Jooyong Kim and Chang Hwan Lee utilized a polyelectrolyte copolymer, ions reacting with counterions (ions that have a charge opposite to that of other given ions, resulting in electrical neutrality), and solvents such as methanol. The result was dimmable glass that was inexpensive and less toxic to manufacture, while offering robust performance. It is also said to change tint quickly, going from being opaque to almost completely clear within seconds.

As with other such products, the Korean window glass could be used to block sunlight and save on air conditioning costs in the summer, while allowing sunlight it to save on heating bills in the winter.

The research was recently published in the journal ACS Nano.

4 comments
windykites
What happened to the idea of using Venetian blinds, or even curtains? Quicker and much cheaper!
katgod
Windy, that is so last year. Hope the amount of methanol is low otherwise it could be tough to get fire insurance with these windows.
Atnd Korea
Nice share! I posted this on the channels for project Advanced Technology and Design Korea. Browse through the facebook, twitter and blog if you can! Hopefully you will enjoy the related content there :) Have a good one and keep it up! (@advancedtechkr)
Brian Hall
katgod; The methanol is used in manufacture. It is not \"in\" the windows. Duh.