UCL News


Heat-responsive glass developed

11 August 2004

Professor Ivan Parkin and PhD student Mr Troy Manning of UCL's Department of Chemistry have successfully created a thermochromic coating for glass which reacts to changes in temperature by altering its optical qualities so that the sun's rays are either reflected or absorbed.

Professor Ivan Parkin

This discovery has tremendous potential for commercial development, and the team are currently in negotiations with a manufacturer. On a warm day, for example, the sun's rays could be reflected away from windows, thereby reducing air conditioning costs. On a cold day, the coating would enable more heat to come through the glass from the sun's rays.

The coating, which is composed of a material known as vanadium dioxide, normally changes at temperatures of 70°C. Using a technique known as 'atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition', the chemists manipulated the coating by covering it with another chemical. This ensures that the glass can be altered at any temperature, whatever the weather.

Professor Parkin said: "This is the first time that the coating has been successfully adapted to react to any changes in temperature, and although it is still in development, I am confident that we can continue to adjust it until we have a commercially viable product which has a multitude of uses."

To find out more about Professor Parkin, use the link at the top of this article.

Link: Professor Parkin