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New 'smart windows' said to outperform previous efforts

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September 22, 2011

Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lig...

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.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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4 Comments

What happened to the idea of using Venetian blinds, or even curtains? Quicker and much cheaper!

windykites1
23rd September, 2011 @ 07:58 am PDT

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.

katgod
23rd September, 2011 @ 04:41 pm PDT

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)

Atnd Korea
26th September, 2011 @ 09:46 am PDT

katgod;

The methanol is used in manufacture. It is not "in" the windows. Duh.

Brian Hall
30th September, 2011 @ 04:26 pm PDT
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