Polymer Coating Cools Buidlings with Bubbles

Polymer Coating Cools Buidlings with Bubbles
A polymer coating embedded with tiny air pockets reflects the sunlight to keep buildings cooler.

Where electricity and air conditioning are scarce, many people will paint their roofs or walls with white paint to take advantage of passive daytime radiant cooling. To increase the efficiency of this method, which is modest at best, the team from Columbia University developed a polymer solution that will take on a porous, foam-like structure as it dries. The air voids in the polymer cause the material to appear bright white while also reflecting more than 96 percent of sunlight and radiating up to 97 percent of heat—enough to cause the material to become cooler than the ambient temperature.

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