New Material Allows Houses to Self-Regulate Temperature

The dream of a smart house that can auto-adjust its heating and cooling is one step closer to being a reality thanks to a new building material. Developed by researchers at University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, the material is an ultra-thin film (measuring .5mm thick) encompassing a fluid nestled between two layers of graphene. It functions in the same way a chameleon changes its colors to regulate its internal temperature. The material adjusts its infrared colors to emit or absorb heat, as its liquid layer retains heat when it’s in a solid copper state and sends it outward when it’s in a watery state. When applied to a house, the autonomous material keeps buildings warm in the winter by emitting a smaller percentage of its heat, and in the summer it cools the house by emitting a larger amount. Researchers believe this can be applied to thermostats so houses self-regulate more efficiently. Learn more at Fast Company.

Image courtesy of University of Chicago