You are here
STTR Phase I: Monolithic Aerogel Designs for Daylighting Applications
Phone: (845) 642-7675
Phone: (845) 642-7675
Contact: Ann Anderson
Type: Nonprofit College or University
The broader impact of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project is in the use of aerogels in daylighting applications to efficiently incorporate natural lighting in building design, benefitting society by significantly decreasing energy consumption and simultaneously improving environments. Natural light is linked to health and productivity The daylighting market ascribes high value to natural light transmission, optical clarity, and thermal insulation; however, existing products generally fail to achieve all three. The proposed technology decouples thermal performance from window clarity, allowing end users to experience the benefits of increased natural light without being resigned to low translucency or high heat or cooling loss. This solution will provide the benefits of natural lighting while improving overall energy efficiency in buildings. As a direct result, architects and glazing contractors will not be limited by thermal considerations when adding windows to structures. Further, it addresses a need for windows that are acoustically insulating. The intellectual merit of this STTR Phase I project lies in the combination of a proprietary design with a licensed aerogel fabrication method to yield a transformative, elegant window product that promotes natural lighting and reduces energy waste. Silica aerogel monoliths have outstanding insulating ability and superior optical properties to materials currently used in daylighting products; however, traditional methods for making monolithic aerogels are time- and labor-intensive. The patented fabrication method employed in this project is advantageous for several reasons, including ease of automation, speed of processing and production of consistent monolithic aerogels, and offers an alternative to existing daylighting solutions with the potential to transform a generally stagnant industry. To mitigate the risks associated with bringing an aerogel window product to market, this project focuses on: (1) improving aerogel molding technology; (2) developing a proprietary innovation to build larger systems; (3) experimenting with dye-doped and etched aerogels for tailored aesthetic effects; (4) fabricating aerogels for two prototype windows (one colorless, one aesthetically enhanced); (5) developing a simplified window assembly method to fabricate two prototype windows; and (6) studying the aerogel precursor supply chain and use of alternative chemistries. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *