MIT MechE | Lincoln Labs Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Engineering Materials for Energy Efficient Windows
Buildings lose 50% to 70% of heating and cooling energy due to heat losses through inefficient windows. Advancements in window materials offer a path to greatly reduce these losses. Silica aerogels are promising due to their unique optical and thermal properties. In this project, I will study ultra-clear silica aerogels’ nanostructure to achieve better light, heat, and sound transport control in windows by quantifying the structural characteristics of the aerogel and relating them to thermal and acoustic performance. The goal is a predicted relationship to optimize its performance that’s validated by characterization such as visible transmittance, thermal conductivity, and sound transmission loss. This will inform its efficacy in making buildings more energy efficient and comfortable.
“This SuperUROP is an opportunity for me to obtain experience in the research field and pursue graduate school. The thermodynamic concepts in Courses 2.005 (Thermal-Fluids Engineering I) and 2.006 (Thermal-Fluids Engineering II) prepared me for and inspired me to work on this project. Exploring material properties that influence energy efficiency excites me. I would like to discover how material application factors into product development. I see this project as a huge step towards working in the energy sector.”