An Adaptive Shading System Opens and Closes Without Electricity

Monday, August 20, 2018 - 15:00

An ETH doctoral student at the Institute for Building Materials has developed a shading system that can open and close automatically – no electricity required.

The ETH Zurich team, led by Chiara Vailati, created a prototype sunshading system that would move to provide maximum shade at midday and tuck away in the early morning, evening and night, ETH Zurich reports.

Pine cones open their scales in warm and dry weather, and remain closed and sealed up when it's cold and wet when they want to release seeds at the most opportune time.

This system consists of planks made with two layers of different wood – spruce and beech. These wood samples have been cut and joined so the grain of the spruce layer runs in one direction and that of the beech wood runs perpendicular to it. That mimics the pine cone structure, allowing it to bend in response to humidity.

The team says this system could be used to make a kind of roof or window covering that opens and closes automatically, entirely under its own power. As well as reducing the use of electricity to cool a building, the system is made of environmentally-friendly materials, and has relatively low installation and maintenance costs.

The research was published in the journal Energy and Buildings

Source: ETH Zurich

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