In February, an article was published in “Tech Briefs” that highlighted a polymers development from the University of Columbia in New York, NY. Below is a summary:

An alternative to traditional cooling methods, such as air conditions, is passive daytime radiative cooling (PDRC). This is the condition that occurs when sunlight is reflected off the surface; the surface spontaneously cools. This process works best when the surface has high reflective properties that directs the heat to the sky, cooling down structures to sub-ambient temperatures.

Until recently, white paints have been the best option for PDRC. They are inexpensive and easy to apply; however, paint has properties that do not reflect longer wavelengths well, making their performance subpar. Developing better PDRC methods has been difficult. New methods are costly and hard to apply on rooftops.

A new polymer coating has been developed that can be used as an air cooler. A phase-inversion technique is used to give the polymer a porous structure, introducing light-scattering air voids into the polymer. The air voids in the porous material reflect sunlight while its inherent thermal emittance causes it to effectively reflect all wavelengths of sunlight to the sky. And it can be easily applied like paint on buildings, vehicles, even spacecraft.

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The Polymers Technology Center focuses on the development of the polymers industry. With our mission, we want to become a resource of value to companies in the industry. The latest in the industry is of interest to us and we believe to the companies we serve.