New material could reduce air conditioning load

Engineers at Stanford University, California, claim to have invented a new mirror-like material which could reduce the air conditioning load of buildings.

The inventors say the new ultrathin multilayered material can cool buildings by radiating warmth from inside the buildings into space while also reflecting sunlight to reduce incoming heat. The result is cooler buildings that require less air conditioning. The multilayered material is just 1.8 microns thick, thinner than the thinnest aluminum foil. It is made of seven layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide on top of a thin layer of silver. These layers are not a uniform thickness, but are instead engineered to create a new material. Its internal structure is tuned to radiate infrared rays at a frequency that lets them pass into space without warming the air near the building…

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