This week in adhesives news, researcher at MIT have developed a transparent polymer film that can trap solar energy, store it, and release it as heat later.
The polymer consists of a molecule that can remain stable in one of two configurations. In sunlight, the molecule is prompted to enter a “charged” configuration and can remain in that state until prompted again. When prompted again, at a specific temperature or other stimulus, the molecules return to their original shape, giving off a burst of heat in the process. Similar ideas in the past have been limited in application, but this new polymer uses an inexpensive solid-state material and can be easily manufactured and reproduced.
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