Scientists have unveiled a new mixture of materials that can automatically regulate the temperature inside buildings. It can be soft for 3D printing and hard for building objects.
The researchers explained that changing climatic conditions have left millions of people vulnerable. As temperature fluctuations become more commonplace around the world, traditional energy-intensive refrigeration systems need a more innovative, energy-efficient alternative. Including this is necessary to reduce the load on the power grid.
In a new study, scientists at the University of Texas have created new 3D-printed phase exchange material (PCM) composites that can regulate the ambient temperature inside buildings due to a simpler and cheaper manufacturing process. In addition, these composites can be added to building materials such as paint, or 3D printed as decorative elements.
“The ability to integrate phase exchange materials into building materials using a scalable method opens up the possibility of creating more passive temperature control in both new and existing buildings,” the scientists noted.
To do this, scientists for the first time combined a photosensitive liquid resin with phase-changing paraffin. This made it possible to improve the production process of building materials containing polymer composite materials (PCM) and to exclude several stages of work, including encapsulation.
The mixture of resin and PCM is soft and pasty, making it ideal for 3D printing, but not for building structures. Therefore, by using light-sensitive resin, they made it solid so that it could be used in building design.