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Cooling Sheets

March 15, 2017

Cooling sheets could provide air conditioning without requiring energy.



Sheets that cool. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A thin sheet of a new kind of plastic can cool objects by 10 degrees Celsius or more without using any energy. It’s not magic; it’s radiative cooling— the same effect that can cause black ice to form on roads on clear nights, even when the air temperature is above freezing. In the journal Science, University of Colorado, Boulder researcher Yao Zhai and his colleagues describe a plastic film embedded with microscopic glass beads that increase an object’s ability to radiate infrared energy.

YAO ZHAI (University of Colorado, Boulder):

We can use our film to cool a panel of water. And the cold water can be collected, and cool buildings. Like, the office, our residential house, or even the thermoelectric power plant.


The sheets could also cool solar panels, allowing them to operate more efficiently. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon