Spray-on Clear Coatings for Cheaper Smart Windows

 In Energy
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Researchers at RMIT University have devel­oped a method for making clear coat­ings to cut the cost of energy-saving smart win­dows and heat-repelling glass.

The ultra-thin trans­par­ent coat­ings, which are over 100 times thin­ner than a human hair, block both harm­ful UV light and heat in the form of infrared radi­a­tion.

The sci­en­tists used a process called ultra­son­ic spray pyrol­y­sis to fab­ri­cate smooth, uni­form coat­ings of high opti­cal and elec­tri­cal qual­i­ty.

Lead inves­ti­ga­tor Dr Enrico Della Gaspera said the pio­neer­ing approach could be used to sub­stan­tial­ly bring down the cost of energy-saving win­dows and poten­tial­ly make them a stan­dard part of new builds and retro­fits.

“Smart win­dows and low‑E glass can help reg­u­late tem­per­a­tures inside a build­ing, deliv­er­ing major envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits and finan­cial sav­ings, but they remain expen­sive and chal­leng­ing to man­u­fac­ture,” said Gaspera, a senior lec­tur­er and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at RMIT.

“We’re keen to col­lab­o­rate with indus­try to fur­ther devel­op this inno­v­a­tive type of coat­ing. The ulti­mate aim is to make smart win­dows much more widely acces­si­ble, cut­ting energy costs and reduc­ing the carbon foot­print of new and retro­fit­ted build­ings.”

The method could sim­pli­fy the fab­ri­ca­tion of smart win­dows, which can be both energy-saving and dim­ma­ble, as well as low-emis­siv­i­ty glass, where a con­ven­tion­al glass panel is coated with a spe­cial layer to min­imise ultra­vi­o­let and infrared light.

It can also be opti­mised to pro­duce coat­ings tai­lored to the trans­paren­cy and con­duc­tiv­i­ty require­ments of the many dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tions of trans­par­ent elec­trodes.

PhD researcher in Applied Chemistry at RMIT Jaewon Kim said the next steps in the research were devel­op­ing pre­cur­sors that will decom­pose at lower tem­per­a­tures, allow­ing the coat­ings to be deposit­ed on plas­tics and used in flex­i­ble elec­tron­ics, as well as pro­duc­ing larger pro­to­types by scal­ing up the depo­si­tion.

“The spray coater we use can be auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­trolled and pro­grammed, so fab­ri­cat­ing bigger proof-of-con­cept panels will be rel­a­tive­ly simple,” he said.

The research was sup­port­ed through fund­ing from the Australian Research Council, with key imag­ing and analy­sis con­duct­ed at RMIT’s Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility (RMMF).

The work was enabled in part by use of the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF) at the QUT Institute for Future Environments.

Manufacturers’ Monthly source|articles

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