Research & Development: A cooling curtain made of a porous triple-layer membrane
In April 2017, Mario Stucki, a doctoral student at ETH Zurich's Functional Materials Laboratory, published an article entitled Stabilization of 2D Water Films in Porous Triple-Layer Membranes with a Hydrophilic Core: Cooling Textiles and Passive Evaporative Room Climate Control.
The article notes that cooling and climate control are among the largest energy consuming processes in the world. Passive systems could represent an interesting alternative to make energy savings.
The article presents a cooling curtain developed by Mario Stucki. The cooling curtain is made of three layers: A middle layer of hydrophilic polymer is framed between two layers of hydrophobic polyurethane, covered with holes of about one micrometre in diameter, allowing water to escape from the middle layer.
It functions like a classic evaporative system: heat is extracted from the air, and evaporation simultaneously cools and humidifies the surrounding area. But unlike typical humidifiers, this cooling requires no energy other than solar power. According to Stucki, "the sunlight that falls through a window on to the curtain provides enough energy for this type of air conditioning".
Some experiments have been conducted on the membrane showing that with an outside temperature of 40?°C and an inside temperature of 30?°C, the curtain surface of 80m2 was enough to dissipate more heat than that supplied by the sunlight.
Nevertheless, the cooling curtain cannot be commercialised yet, as some questions still have to be answered, such as the microbiological behaviour of the membrane.
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