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Deformable Thermo-Responsive Smart Windows Based on a Shape Memory Polymer for Adaptive Solar Modulations

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2021, 16:06 authored by Dan Li, Chengzhi Zhou, Yun Meng, Chao Chen, Chengjiao Yu, Yi Long, Shuzhou Li
Thermo-responsive smart windows that control solar transmission are expected to be the promising solution to excessive building energy consumption and overheating of solar cell devices. The two performance indices, namely, the luminous transmission (Tlum) and the solar modulation (ΔTsol), are often intrinsically limited by conventional thermo-responsive materials, which restrict their applications in smart windows. Alternatively, constructing a deformable surface morphology of smart windows can be an effective strategy to modulate the solar transmission. Here, we report a new category of thermo-responsive smart windows with a deformable surface morphology, which can be custom designed to achieve both desirable ΔTsol and Tlum according to the sunlight incident angles of actual applications. This design is based on a thermo-responsive shape memory polymer and an optical coating, which is termed the butterfly-wing-like smart window (BSW). The BSW reversibly transforms from a temporary shape of flat topography to a predefined original shape of tilted configuration upon heating. It is demonstrated that the BSW has a high ΔTsol of 32.6% and an excellent Tlum(average) of 64.5%. This work provides a new design strategy and mechanism for thermo-responsive smart windows.