Project Details


The project will develop nanofluid-filled louvers that can be used as light blocking devices, as well as visible light redirectors and solar infrared energy absorbers and manipulators. The louvers through their optical transparency to visible light and optical properties redirect the incoming collimated sunlight so that natural lighting improvement and management for deeper daylight penetration are achieved, reducing lighting electrical power cost. In addition, reduced glare and offsetting of artificial lighting needs can be accomplished, increasing occupants' comfort. The faculty and students involved in the project will organize lectures and workshops to share their results to the local community to inform of the possible benefits of the research. The integrated education and research program will enhance recruitment and outreach to various underrepresented communities at the two public universities that serve a large population of underrepresented students in STEM. Daylight is an important aspect of everyday life inside buildings, as it enhances individual productivity, increases student performance and well-being. The project has the potential to have an impact in the perception of and adaptation of older buildings to contemporary uses by virtue of sustainable energy technology. The project results offer a better working environment, reducing the energy requirements and the carbon footprint of buildings. The major objective of this project is to study the fundamental optics and thermal-fluid mechanisms for enhanced daylighting, enhanced solar infrared (IR) energy harvesting, and enhanced energy transport, via use of proposed nanofluid-filled prismatic louvers. In particular, the project will study the effects of the prismatic louver geometry, orientation and control in glazings, and the photothermal physics of nanofluids for achieving: (a) Visible light redirection and diffusion and smart control for better natural light penetration in the indoors, and (b) Selective radiation absorption through IR absorption-enhanced nanofluid for heat gain manipulation of the incoming solar radiation. The specific aims of the project include: (i) Optical analysis and experimental verification of enhanced daylighting; (ii) Spectral analysis of selected nanofluids for enhanced solar IR radiation harvesting; (iii) Thermal analysis and measurements for enhanced heat transfer and energy storage; and (iv) Daylighting and thermal management control for realizing a smart louver system. The project will develop prismatic louver geometries and orientations for optimum daylighting condition for a variety of climatic zones. At the same time, nanofluids (e.g., low-volume TiO2 nanoparticles in water) tailored for selectively increasing solar IR absorption/harvesting but not affecting visible light penetration will be developed and studied. An important objective of this project is to study the interplay between increased daylight penetration and the effects on reducing heating/cooling needs. This is required to effectively manage both the incoming light and solar radiation, by proper control of light redirection and heat transfer to either the surrounding environment, or to secondary heat exchanging and/or thermal storage tank, or to thermoelectricity generators. Theoretical and experimental work in both optics and heat transfer issues are addressed. For the first time to the project team's knowledge, the project addresses solar IR energy harvesting, regulation and management in a way that makes optimal use of their impact through an integrated and adaptable design that can address different climatic, and seasonal needs. The project through its hybrid methods and results, e.g., lighting and sun-shading, energy savings, thermal load reduction and nanofluid-based heat storage/transfer allows for the conversion of natural resources, achieving green energy and sustainability.
Effective start/end date8/1/157/31/18


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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