Source: The post is based on the article “Low-energy-consuming switchable smart windows developed based on novel architecture for confining liquid crystals” published in PIB on 13th July 2023
What is the News?
Researchers have developed a novel technique for confining liquid crystals in an architecture known as hierarchical double networks of polymers.
This technique can provide next-generation solutions for low-energy consumption on-demand switchable smart windows that operate between low and high transmittance.
What are Polymers?
The term polymer is defined as very large molecules having high molecular mass (103 -107u).
These are also referred to as macromolecules, which are formed by joining of repeating structural units on a large scale.
The repeating structural units are derived from some simple and reactive molecules known as monomers and are linked to each other by covalent bonds. The process of formation of polymers from respective monomers is called polymerisation.
Types of Polymers: Under this type of classification, there are three sub categories:
– Natural polymers: These polymers are found in plants and animals. Examples are proteins, cellulose, starch, some resins and rubber.
– Semi-synthetic polymers: These are those that are derived from nature itself but are made to undergo chemical processes to enhance their quality. Cellulose derivatives such as cellulose acetate (rayon) and cellulose nitrate etc. are the usual examples of this sub category.
– Synthetic polymers: These are those which are human-made polymers. Some examples of synthetic polymers are: plastic (polythene), synthetic fibres (nylon 6,6) and synthetic rubbers (Buna – S).
What are Interpenetrating polymer networks?
Interpenetrating polymer networks are soft matter systems that innovatively optimize different functionalities such as mechanical, optical, and electrical properties to provide novel solutions in engineering and biomedical applications.
A specific class of these architectures called as hierarchical double networks synergistically combine rigid and soft networks to realize thermal, electrical, and optical properties.