New cooling materials: Inspiration from a fascinating beetle

A type of beetle capable of regulating its body temperature in some of the hottest places on earth is the centerpiece of new research.

A longhorn beetle.

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, with teams from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, have discovered new information about a species of longicorn beetle that can cool its body enough to survive in volcanic areas in Southeast Asia.

They used that information to create a photonic film based on the beetle’s wing structure using common, flexible materials that are mechanically strong and can be manufactured on a large scale. The film passively cools, meaning it doesn’t take up energy like the systems we use to keep temperatures down in our cars and buildings.

Common materials

The film the team created is made of PDMS, a flexible, widely used polymer, along with some ceramic particles. Because of the common materials used and the simple process for manufacturing the film, the researchers believe the project will succeed.

Going forward, the research team is working to further optimise the manufacturing process for large-scale production. They will also seek commercialisation opportunities in several areas, including energy-efficient buildings, water cooling systems and thermal fabrics.

See the original publication on the website of the University of Texas at Austin.

Image source: Pixabay.

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