Thermo-Bimetal Paneling

In recent years, the topic of saving energy has much concerned to a point where a widely discussion has been aroused all around the world. According to the survey it is the construction energy that occupies most of the energy consumption. Buildings use 40% energy in the United States. What is more, building enclosures is important for energy use in the buildings. A large number of the enclosure functions are related to heat and moisture control which contribute to the energy. In according to this many building scientists and engineers are focusing on the building envelop materials to save energy as much as possible.

Doris Kim Sung, architect of USC, developed Thermo-Bimetal paneling, which changes shape with temperature and may let walls breathe and windows apply shading to themselves. Thermo-Bimetal called smart materials can be used to create self-managing systems for buildings. One important use is allowing buildings to react to sunlight, changing their configurations at different times of the day to prevent overheating. How it works is basically just that it is two different metals laminated together (usually steel and copper) and when they are heated one reacts more quickly and bends in one direction, then when they cool down they go back to their original position. The best part about using this material within building facades is that it reacts automatically with the sun or with heat to open and close, creating shade where and when it is needed without the use of electricity or power of any kind.

Thermo bimetal was originally thought of as a material that could be used to automatically create shade where it is needed but that is not the only way it could be used. It can be used as a ventilation system as well, by creating a system that when hot air rises up the metal above it opens to release it. Another way is that in high-rise buildings it could be used for ventilation from the outside where it covers up holes in the wall when cold and allows air to enter when it is warm. As she points out, these systems require no human intervention — even in the case of a power outage, they continue to work “tirelessly, efficiently, and endlessly.”

Thermo-bimetal is an innovative material. However this material is still being questioned by people, some people hold the idea that those metals are created with lots of energy and money which increase the initial cost. What is worse, many people doubt it tireless. They think the bimetal could not deal with hail, or salt corrosion near oceans. Anyhow with the endeavor of scientists and engineers, an increasing number of smart materials will show up in the future to solve energy problem.


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