Hydrogel glass: a new design of glass for energy

image: Structure design and working principle of glass hydrogel.
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Credit: Jia Fu, Chunzao Feng, Yutian Liao, Mingran Mao, Huidong Liu and Kang Liu;

Energy use in buildings contributes over 40% of total global energy consumption, of which lighting and space cooling represent a significant portion. Traditional glass windows have been used for centuries, however, they are not energy efficient. In summer, near-infrared sunlight transmitted through windows produces unwanted heating, and strong mid-infrared reflection limits heat rejection from the building. This “greenhouse effect” increases the consumption of cooling energy. How to manipulate near and mid-infrared light through windows to reduce cooling consumption while maintaining high visible transparency for lightning remains a very challenging problem for eyewear design.

Researchers from Wuhan University in China, led by Professor Kang Liu, propose a new hydrogel-glass design that consists of a hydrogel layer and a normal glass layer. Compared with traditional glass, hydrogel glass has a higher level of visible light transmittance, stronger near-infrared light blocking, and higher mid-infrared thermal emittance. Thanks to these properties, the researchers demonstrate that hydrogel glass windows can improve interior lighting and reduce interior temperature. Simulations show that the new window can reduce building lighting and cooling energy consumption ranging from 2.37 to 10.45 MJ m−2·year−1 for different cities around the world. The work entitled “Broadband light management in hydrogel glass for energy efficient windows” was published in the journal of Frontiers of optoelectronics (August 5, 2022).


Reference: Fu, J., Feng, C., Liao, Y., Mao, M., Liu, H., Liu, K. Hydrogel glass broadband light management for energy efficient windows. Front. Optoelectron. 15, 33 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12200-022-00033-4

About Higher Education Press

Founded in May 1954, Higher Education Press Limited Company (HEP), affiliated with the Ministry of Education, is one of the earliest institutions engaged in educational publishing after the establishment of the PR China in 1949. After six decades of efforts, HEP has grown into a large, comprehensive publisher, with products in various forms and at different levels. Both for import and export, HEP strives to fill the gap in domestic and overseas markets and meet the demand of global customers by cooperating with more than 200 partners around the world and selling products and services in 32 languages ​​worldwide. Today, HEP ranks among the top Chinese publishers in terms of copyright export volume and among the top 50 publishing companies in the world in terms of overall strength.

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About Frontiers of optoelectronics

Frontiers of optoelectronics (FOE) aims to present the most recent research results and state-of-the-art improvements in the field of photonics and optoelectronics. It is intended to be an important information platform for rapid communication and exchange between researchers in the relevant fields. The journal publishes review articles, research articles, letters, commentaries, special issues, etc. The editors are Academician Qihuang Gong of Peking University and Professor Xinliang Zhang of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. FOE has been indexed by ESCI, Ei, SCOPUS, DOAJ, CSCD, Source Journals for Chinese Scientific and Technical Papers and Citations, etc. FOE has been open access since 2022.

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