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Fast-Changing Self-Shading Windows Created

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 12:39PM

Windows can make a tremendous difference in a room by letting some natural light in, but there are times you want to cut down on the brightness. Obliviously shades and blinds can be used to achieve this, but not all situations allow for such solutions. An alternative is to create windows that can shade themselves, such as those MIT researchers have developed.

Self-shading windows already exist and are actually used on Boeing's 787, so that a flip of a switch can cut down on the light coming in. The catch with these windows is that they take a few minutes to transition from clear to a dark green. The new MIT windows change much faster and can actually go opaque. Both the new windows and the 787 windows are electrochromic windows, which work by having an electrical current applied to them. This current negatively charges the windows, so positive ions have to move through the window to return electrical balance, and it is these moving ions that shade the windows. In the 787 windows, the ions move slowly, thus making the transition slow, while the MIT windows contain metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs) that are able to carry electrons and the positive ions at high speeds.

Two other advantages the MIT windows have are it actually becoming opaque instead of just a dark shade, and that only the transition requires a current be applied. Once the window is made clear or opaque, the current can be stopped and will not be needed again until one wants it to transition back. This is obviously important as it cuts down on how much power these windows need to operate.

Source: MIT

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