Gridwall panel technology is poised to revolutionize how cities manage their power.
In the future, you might see gridwall panels being used to protect buildings, provide security to your home or even as a backup power source.
But it’s not clear what the technology is best suited for, and the technology has not yet been demonstrated to be widely applicable.
Now, researchers at the University of Minnesota have proposed a gridwall panel that uses nanoscale particles to act as a sort of “smart insulation” — essentially a layer of thin, nanosized foam, designed to insulate buildings from the elements.
“The idea is to build an insulation layer that is a little bit more resilient and not really that bulky,” said co-author Michael St. Clair, a professor of mechanical engineering.
The researchers also hope that this type of insulation will be used to create other types of insulation and other solutions for building-related problems, such as dust buildup, as well as to improve the life of cities.
[Read more: Building insulation is one of the coolest projects of the year]Gridwall panels may sound like a crazy idea, but the technology was first proposed for use in a single-room occupancy apartment in 2012.
Now the research team has added the idea to a larger set of nanoscales and the researchers are hoping to create more layers and better insulation to further extend the potential.
“We’ve done some preliminary work, and it seems that the idea is still valid,” St. Louis said.
“We are still in the early stages of understanding what the properties of the material are and what the performance characteristics are.”
For the latest updates on this technology, read this article.
The team is still working on the insulating technology, which could be used in a variety of applications from roofing to insulation to other kinds of materials.
For example, they hope that the insulation could be made to perform as a heat-resistant layer on the walls of homes and other buildings.
The current prototype uses a type of polymer that has a similar structure to polypropylene, which can be found in other insulation materials.
But the team said the material could be more robust than that material and could be a more suitable material for this type, such a carbon fiber material that would have a higher surface area.
They are also developing the material to be able to be used as a non-toxic, renewable energy source.
“In this context, it is not just the material that makes this a good material to work with, but also the energy storage potential,” St., Clair said.
The researchers are working on building a grid with this material and hope to begin testing this material in early 2018.