IIT Guwahati Researchers Develop Automatic Climate Control Materials For Buildings

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Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati researchers have developed smart window materials for automatic climate control of buildings. Dr Debabrata Sikdar, Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, with his research scholar, Ashish Kumar Chowdhary from IIT Guwahati, have designed the material that can control the amount of heat and light passing through it in response to an applied voltage, the institute said.

These smart window materials would help in developing “efficient automatic climate control systems in buildings”, it said.

The researchers have published their findings in the journal, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

“There has been increased attention to sustainable architectural designs for better light and heat management in buildings in recent years, and deploying smart windows is the first step for such structures”, said Dr Sikdar.

“Conventionally, window designs are static – they are predesigned for specific climatic conditions. The emergent smart windows, on the other hand, can dynamically adjust the amount of light and heat radiation entering a building in response to external stimuli, thus conserving the building’s energy,” an official statement said.

The IIT Guwahati team has used noble materials in their design that can “dynamically control the intensity of transmitted solar radiation, depending upon the weather/climate condition.”

“We have proposed an electro-tuneable glass made of two ultra-thin metal layers sandwiching an electro-optic polymer whose refractive index can be changed by applying a small voltage, which allows filtering of visible and infrared radiation,” explained Mr Chowdhary, research scholar at IIT Guwahati.

The researchers used this design to perform simulation studies to understand the light and heat transmission properties in response to the applied voltage. Initially, they used gold and silver as metal layers and later replaced it with less-expensive alternatives such as copper and indium tin oxide.

“At present, the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed an unprecedented risk of cross-infections through aerosols transmission in public buildings…We believe that our smart windows can provide an alternative solution for maintaining ambient indoor temperature and lighting inside a building or a vehicle by integrating those with usual glass windows or walls, thereby reducing the need of air-conditioning systems ” said Dr Sikdar.

These smart glasses can be used for climate control in vehicles, locomotives, airplanes and greenhouses, an official statement said.

Source: NDTV Education