Harvard students will have a new way to decorate their dorm rooms.
In the upcoming spring semester, Harvard’s Residential Life and Academic Programs Department plans to begin using carbon nanotsube sheets, called carbon nanocubes, as dorm rooms decor.
The sheets are made out and made of carbon that has been broken down into nanotube carbon nanofibers, which are small pieces of carbon and can be easily removed.
The project is part of the larger project to reduce carbon emissions from the residential building industry, which produces nearly 40 percent of the U.S. carbon footprint.
“What we’re seeing is that carbon-neutral materials are being made and used in a very exciting way in the residential space,” said Elizabeth A. Maffei, a senior lecturer in MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
“These materials can be used in different ways, including to make light fixtures and window frames, but also to make carbon-free, lightweight materials.”
Using the sheets, the dorm rooms of many students will be carbon- and hydrogen-neutral.
The Harvard Residential Life Department said the project is a way to help students save energy and save money on energy bills, as well as improve energy efficiency.
“The carbon-nanotube materials are very good in terms of absorbing infrared light,” said Rami Alshehri, the university’s professor of materials science and engineering and a senior author of the paper describing the project.
“It absorbs about 0.1 percent of a light wavelength.
So, it absorbs all of the infrared light that’s coming at you.”
In addition to the carbon nanostructures, the students will also use carbon nanogas and other materials to make windows and other features.
“They’re looking to use these materials to improve their energy efficiency and to be able to make the windows a lot thinner, which would help them reduce the amount of energy they use,” Maffi said.
The new design uses an approach that’s used to make glass.
Glass has to be cut in order to be carbon neutral, but carbon nanobotons, the tiny carbon particles in glass, can be cut and then made into sheets.
The sheet-like material has to bond to the glass, creating a bond that bonds the sheet to the surface of the glass.
“This creates a really high-density, high-strength structure,” M. M. Siegel, the project’s principal investigator, said.
“We’re going to use it to make more of the windows, because the glass is not as strong as carbon nanorods, and it doesn’t get as hot, so it’s better in terms.
of heat transfer.”
While carbon nanoscale glass is already used in some high-tech products, like solar cells, the material will be especially useful in buildings, such as dorms, which tend to be hot and crowded.
The carbon nanomaterials will help reduce heat transmission and temperature.
“The window is a big part of a building, and the windows are a huge part of it,” Alshe, the professor of material science and engineer, said, adding that the new carbon nanosheet could also be used to create new ways to use heat transfer in buildings.
The Harvard Residential Plumbing project will be one of many major initiatives to cut carbon emissions at the residential sector.
Earlier this year, the University of Illinois launched a research effort that’s focused on how to make a building more energy-efficient and less costly to build.
“I think the Residential Plumber program is really exciting,” Al Shehri said.
“We think this is an example of how these new materials are really able to be used,” Mafei said.
The next big step, Alshe said, will be to figure out how to incorporate carbon nanowires into windows.
“That will be an ongoing research project.”
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Original article on Live Science.