A solar/radiative cooling dual-regulation smart window based on shape-morphing kirigami structures
Wang, S., Dong, Y., Li, Y., Ryu, K., Dong, Z., Chen, J., … Long, Y. (2023, July 21). MATERIALS HORIZONS.
The energy efficiency of buildings has become a critical issue due to their substantial contribution to global energy consumption. Windows, in particular, are often the least efficient component of the building envelope, and conventional smart windows focus solely on regulating solar transmittance while overlooking radiative cooling. Although several recent designs achieved dual-control of solar and radiative cooling, these windows still face limitations in terms of durability, limited modulation ability and energy-saving performance. To address these challenges, we propose a novel dual-control smart window design consisting of a reconfigurable kirigami structure and polydimethylsiloxane-laminated thermochromic hydrogel coated with silver nanowires. In summer, the thermochromic hydrogel turns translucent to suppress the solar heat gain, while the high emissivity kirigami structure covers the exterior surface of the window, promoting radiative cooling. In winter, the hydrogel becomes transparent to allow for solar transmission. Additionally, the kirigami structure undergoes an out-of-plane structural change, opening towards the outside environment to expose the underlying low-emissivity silver nanowires and suppress heat radiation. Our design achieves a promising solar transmittance modulation ability of ∼24% and a good long-wave infrared emissivity regulation ability of 0.5. Furthermore, it exhibits significantly improved durability, which is nine times longer than the lifespan of conventional smart hydrogels. Our novel approach offers a promising solution for constructing energy-efficient and durable smart windows and outperforms existing state-of-the-art solar/radiative cooling dual-regulation smart windows in the literature.