Science & Technology
'Smart' window could make curtains obselete
By T.K. Randall
March 16, 2016 · 13 comments
The new windows could remove the need for blinds or curtains. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Hugh Chevallier
Researchers at Harvard University have developed a way to quickly change the opacity of a glass window.
While we've seen the idea of 'tunable' windows before, previous methods have involved expensive electrochemical reactions which, while effective, aren't much use for building a consumer product.
Now however scientists have come up with a cheaper and more effective alternative that is made from multiple layers of transparent, soft elastomers sprayed with a coating of silver nanowires.
When a voltage is applied the nanowires move towards one another, changing the opacity of the glass to make it clear, cloudy or opaque at the mere flick of a switch.
"Itís like a frozen pond. If the frozen pond is smooth, you can see through the ice," wrote Harvard postdoctoral researcher Samuel Shian. "But if the ice is heavily scratched, you canít see through."
The next step will be to find a way to incorporate thinner elastomers that require lower voltages.
"Because this is a physical phenomenon rather than based on a chemical reaction, it is a simpler and potentially cheaper way to achieve commercial tunable windows," said Prof David Clarke.
Source: First Post
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