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New material could control temperatures

July 7, 2011 at 5:46 PM

NINGBO, China, July 7 (UPI) -- Chinese researchers say a material that can retain and release heat for specific temperature requirements could mean lower costs to heat and cool buildings.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China believe the new material, which could be used in existing structures as well as new builds, could offer considerable energy savings.

The non-deformed energy storage phase change material has the advantage of a larger energy storage capacity with faster thermal response than existing materials and could be cheaply manufactured, a university release said Thursday.

If, for example, the desired temperature in a room is 71 degrees Fahrenheit, the material can be made to absorb any excess heat above that temperature, researchers said.

The heat-regulating material could be applied anywhere, from walls and roofs to wallpaper, they said.

"The construction industry produces more carbon emissions than any other industry in the world -- even more than aviation," UNNC researcher Jo Darkwa said.

"In China, the building sector is one of the highest energy consuming sectors, accounting for about 30 per cent of total energy usage and also a significant proportion of pollutant emissions.

"This material, if widely used, could make a major impact in the world's efforts to reduce carbon emission," he said.

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