Imagine bricks and mortar being replaced by “smart” walls that are made of an ultra-thin polymer-based film—the same material used in a plastic soda bottle. And the technology used is applied by a printing process.
Solos is a series of exhibitions at the Cooper-Hewitt museum to showcase design work new to the market or in the research and development stage. The first, by KieranTimberlake Associates LLP will be on display until Oct. 10.
Imagine bricks and mortar being replaced by “smart” walls that are made of an ultra-thin polymer-based film—the same material used in a plastic soda bottle. And the technology used is applied by a printing process. SmartWrap is a concept for a new building material that integrates the segregated functions of a conventional wall, like shelter and insulation, and compresses them into one composite film that can be erected in a fraction of ordinary building time.
SmartWrap incorporates emerging technologies in heating and cooling, visual display and lighting, and energy collection. The combined technologies are printed on a single micrometer-thin layer, replacing the bulky and separate functions of traditional construction with a thin film wrapped around a structural frame. Museum-goers will be able to input variables into a computer terminal to produce a customized design for the SmartWrap wall.
SmartWrap is made up of several layers including substrate, printed and laminated layers all roll-coated into a single composite film. Together, they can provide shelter, climate control, lighting and information display, and power.
To control temperature, SmartWrap contains micro-capsules of phase change materials embedded into a polymer resin then extruded into a film. The phase change materials provide latent heat storage for thermal moderation by absorbing, storing, or releasing heat as they change state.
To provide lighting and information display, SmartWrap uses Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. Organic molecules emit light (photons) when an electric current is applied. OLED technology is currently used in mobile phones and handheld computer devices.
Since buildings have large surface areas that are exposed to the sun,they are ideal solar collectors. Thin film silicon solar cells in the SmartWrap power the OLED technology. Thin film batteries store excess energy, and the conductive ink provides the conduit for the activation of these technologies.