Beetle that lives near volcanos inspires new eco-friendly cooling material

Heating and cooling systems are some of the biggest consumers of energy, so finding ways to passively cool buildings and electronics could be a huge saver of money and the environment.

Now, thanks to a beetle that likes to hang out in some of the hottest places on Earth, scientists have developed a new material that may help us cool everything from buildings to electronic devices in an environmentally friendly manner.

Called Neocerambyx Gigas, the bug is commonly found in Thailand and Indonesia, chilling out around active volcanoes where summertime temperatures soar above 40 °C (104 °F) on the regular, and on the ground can get as hot as 70 °C (158 °F).

So just how do these beetles handle the heat? Figuring that out was the goal of the new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The team discovered how the beetle’s shell structure helps it cool down, and mimicked it to make a new passive cooling film.

The secret, apparently, lies in tiny triangular structures on the beetle’s wings that reflect sunlight, while also allowing its body heat to escape.

In a quest to mimic that structure, the scientists have managed to develop a photonic film that proved to be incredibly promising at keeping things cool. When placed in direct sunlight, items beneath the film were as much as 5.1 °C (9.2 °F) cooler than those without it.

The researchers say that this new film could be used as a coating on things like windows, solar panels, cars, fabrics, wearables, and electronic devices, to keep them cool without needing to expend any energy.

And the best part of it is that because the materials and processes used to make the film are already widely available, scaling it up for mass production shouldn’t be too challenging.

Solution News Source

Beetle that lives near volcanos inspires new eco-friendly cooling material

Heating and cooling systems are some of the biggest consumers of energy, so finding ways to passively cool buildings and electronics could be a huge saver of money and the environment.

Now, thanks to a beetle that likes to hang out in some of the hottest places on Earth, scientists have developed a new material that may help us cool everything from buildings to electronic devices in an environmentally friendly manner.

Called Neocerambyx Gigas, the bug is commonly found in Thailand and Indonesia, chilling out around active volcanoes where summertime temperatures soar above 40 °C (104 °F) on the regular, and on the ground can get as hot as 70 °C (158 °F).

So just how do these beetles handle the heat? Figuring that out was the goal of the new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The team discovered how the beetle’s shell structure helps it cool down, and mimicked it to make a new passive cooling film.

The secret, apparently, lies in tiny triangular structures on the beetle’s wings that reflect sunlight, while also allowing its body heat to escape.

In a quest to mimic that structure, the scientists have managed to develop a photonic film that proved to be incredibly promising at keeping things cool. When placed in direct sunlight, items beneath the film were as much as 5.1 °C (9.2 °F) cooler than those without it.

The researchers say that this new film could be used as a coating on things like windows, solar panels, cars, fabrics, wearables, and electronic devices, to keep them cool without needing to expend any energy.

And the best part of it is that because the materials and processes used to make the film are already widely available, scaling it up for mass production shouldn’t be too challenging.

Solution News Source

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