Singaporean researchers have succeeded in developing a very special double glazing. Capable of absorbing the heat of the day to release it at night, this double glazing could revolutionize the insulation of homes. The secret of this innovation? Replace the air contained in the double glazing with a hydrogel.
A substance more effective than air
As the Maison à part magazine reminds us, insulation is very important for a building. However, the main risk is none other than heat loss. If the roof and walls represent the most important sources of such losses, windows still concern 10 to 15% of cases. In a press release published on November 5, 2020, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) presented a potential window-level solution.
Usually, double glazing limits thermal transmission thanks to an air-filled space. In their publication, the researchers evoke double glazing in which a liquid – or rather a hydrogel – replaces the air. According to the study leaders, the latter could drastically reduce the energy consumption of buildings.
Advantages of liquid double glazing
As the researchers indicate in their video presentation (see the end of the article), the double glazing in question incorporates a mixture of water and hydrogel as well as a stabilizer. The water has a specific thermal capacity allowing it to retain part of the heat during summer days. Besides, the substance can block the sun’s rays by becoming opaque during the hottest times of the day.
Glass with reinforced thermal insulation is usually treated with a layer filtering infrared light in both directions. This helps to reduce the heat conveyed by the sun’s rays in summer and winter. Besides, no treatment is necessary, so natural light can enter the building during the winter. This will reduce heating needs, as an experiment conducted in Beijing (China) proves. The researchers suggest an 11% reduction in energy consumption with outdoor temperatures varying from -6 ° C to + 3 ° C.
Overall, the results show a 30% drop in energy consumption for air conditioning, compared to the best double glazing on the market. The same goes for ventilation and heating. Scientists also believe that their double glazing is cheaper to produce, precisely because of the absence of specific treatment on the glass. Finally, there is better sound insulation. Compared to standard glazing, that of Singaporean researchers reduces noise transmission by 15%.