Scientists Make Low Cost, Low Energy Cooling System Using New Material

A new low costs system that is capable of providing the required cooling to homes with the use of very little energy has been scaled up by researchers in the US.

A highly reflective material made from glass and polymers has been used for the development of a roof-top sized array by the team.

During the tests for the new system, it was able to maintain water at a temperature which was 10C lower than the ambient air when the water was exposed to midday sunlight in summer.

This new system can be used for cooling of power stations and data centres in a scaled up form.

The basis of the system is centred around what is known as a cooling meta-material which is a engineered film that is not found in nature.

Revelation of the extraordinary properties of the new film hat is able to reflect away almost all of the incoming light from the Sun was made through a publication last year by researchers at CU Boulder in the US.

But the material is made special because of another cooling trick. If But the material is made special because of another cooling trick. If water is covered by the film, it allows any heat remaining in the water to escape into the air.

Therefore, temperature of the water goes down because the water collects no more heat as the sunlight is reflected away after the heat escapes.

The idea has been scaled up now by scientists by enhancing the system and constructing and testing a 13-sq-metre array of panels which is large enough to be fitted on most rooftops.

“You could place these panels on the roof of a single-family home and satisfy its cooling requirements,” said Dongliang Zhao, lead author of the study from CU Boulder’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Outdoor testing for the system under a number of weather conditions has been already made. In one of such experiment that was carried out in the summer of 2017, the new reflective system was managed to keep water about 12C cooler compared to the surrounding air during the warmest hours of the day.

“We can now apply these materials on building rooftops, and even build large-scale water cooling systems with significant advantages over the conventional air-conditioning systems, which require high amounts of electricity to function,” said Associate Professor Gang Tan, another author of the study from the University of Wyoming.

Glass microspheres embedded into a polymer film that has a thin silver coating comprises the key material of the new system.

It is slightly thicker than aluminium foil at just 50 micrometres.

The material is suitable to be applied on residential and commercial applications because the material can be manufactured on rolls which is another of the big advantage of the material.

(Adapted from


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