A new material has been developed as an alternative to glass: It could reduce your electricity bills.

Scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have apparently developed an alternative to traditional glass. This new material is transparent and could also reduce your electricity bills.
A new material has been developed as an alternative to glass

Having numerous glass surfaces in your home is ideal for lighting, but it can also allow excess heat and prying eyes inside. However, scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a new metamaterial that could potentially replace glass in walls and roofs. This material is self-cleaning and more transparent to light than glass, while also addressing privacy concerns.

A Potential Alternative to Glass

Glass components can increase a building’s natural daylight intake and reduce energy consumption. However, using too much glass can produce glare, leading to eye strain, headaches, and reduced visual clarity. This issue can negatively impact productivity and overall well-being, especially for individuals working in environments with excessive sunlight or bright lighting.

A new material has been developed as an alternative to glass

The KIT team claims that their newly developed metamaterial, called PMMM, can overcome all these limitations. According to the team, PMMM is a thin film that can be applied over regular glass, deriving its advanced properties from microscopic structures on its surface. These structures diffuse 73% of the incoming light, giving the material a frosted appearance. Interestingly, this frosted look offers 95% transparency to sunlight (compared to 91% for normal glass). Additionally, unlike traditional glass, PMMM does not trap sunlight and heat like a greenhouse. Instead, it releases heat through radiative cooling, keeping buildings cooler on hot days.

Tests indicate that PMMM can maintain indoor temperatures up to 6 degrees Celsius lower. This reduction in temperature can decrease the use of air conditioning and, consequently, electricity consumption. This makes the material particularly promising for use in greenhouses. Another issue with glass walls, windows, and roofs is the need for regular cleaning. PMMM, however, is self-cleaning. It exhibits superhydrophobic performance with a contact angle of 152 degrees.

Sources

https://newatlas.com/materials/metamaterial-glass-radiative-cooling-self-cleaning/https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-48150-2https://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2024_037_innovative-material-for-sustainable-building.php

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