5-speed listening (Air Conditioning - Level 3)

New, super-thin material cools buildings



Medium (British English)

Medium (N. American English)



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A team of engineers has created a super-thin material that could help keep buildings cool. The team is from the University of Colorado Boulder in the USA. Engineers from the university developed the revolutionary new material, that is very thin and can cool objects even under direct sunlight. The material does not need energy to work nor does it need water to help keep things cool. The engineers say the new material could provide an answer to air conditioners, which are expensive to run and need a lot of water. The material is unlike anything found in nature. It is a glass-polymer hybrid that is just 50 micrometers thick. That's slightly thicker than the aluminium foil we use for cooking.

The engineers explained how their new material works. They said when it is put on top of something, two things happen. The first thing is that it cools the object underneath by reflecting the Sun's rays back into space. At the same time, the second thing happens - the material removes the object's own heat and sends that into the air. An engineer said: "The key advantage of this technology is that it works 24/7 with no electricity or water usage….We're excited about the opportunity to explore potential uses in the power industry, aerospace, agriculture and more." Another researcher said: "Just 10 to 20 square meters of this material on the rooftop could nicely cool down a…house in summer."

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Air Conditioning - Level 0  |  Air Conditioning - Level 1  |   Air Conditioning - Level 2

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