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Aerogels with liquid crystalline order for smart window applications

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ICT 116

University of Calgary

Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

Canada

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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning of buildings account for about 15% of the global energy consumption, but about 20% of this building-related energy is lost because of inefficient windows. Greenhouse emissions associated with producing and using this energy contribute substantially to climate change. Is there a solution to this challenging problem? Starting from the physical principles associated with energy loss through windows, I will describe our development of visibly transparent, infrared-reflecting, thermally super-insulating materials that may replace or retrofit the inefficient windowpanes of residential and commercial buildings. I will discuss the liquid crystalline ordering of cellulose nanofibers within such materials. Using many demonstrations, I will discuss how production of such unusual transparent aerogels is aided by bacteria, with the source materials in the forms of waste of food industry and beer wort, to make such smart windows highly affordable.


Ivan I. Smalyukh is a full professor at the Department of Physics at CU-Boulder. He is also a founding fellow of Renewable Sustainable Energy Institute and Materials Science Engineering Program. He is a senior investigator of the Materials Science and Engineering Center (NSF MRSEC) and directs the Soft Matter Physics Research Group at CU-Boulder with 34 research group members.

He published >170 peer-refereed articles, including 5 in Nature and Science, and has an h-index of 47. He received many awards, including the Bessel and Glenn Brown Awards, NASA iTech award and Mid-Career Award of International Liquid Crystal Society, the PECASE Award from the Office of Science and Technology of the White House and the GSoft Award from the American Physical Society.

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ICT 116

University of Calgary

Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

Canada

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