Necessity is the Mother of Invention in Nanotech

Since I at times play the role of a channel surfing, football watching male, I am curious to know more about anything that proposes a way to keep beer cold. So when I saw the quote, "We've managed to cool six cans of beer"  on Twitter, I had to investigate.

Indeed two researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, Professor Geoff Smith and Dr Angus Gentle, have reported in this month’s online edition of Nano Letters on a nanocoating that not only manages to keep beers cold but presents an ingenious way of ensuring that heat is emitted on a wavelength that allows it to escape the earth’s atmosphere.

By using a mixture of silicon carbide and silicon dioxide nanoparticles they discovered that they could get heat to emanate at wavelengths of between 7.9 and 13 micrometers allowing the heat to escape the earth’s atmosphere.

Smith is quoted in the story above as believing that the nanocoating could be used as a sort of “reverse solar collector” in which air or water could pass below a plate coated with the nanonparticles and be cooled. The water or air could then be circulated through a building and serve as a type of air conditioning.

The coating appears to be a remarkably simple way to cut on energy costs and maybe even find a way to reduce global warming. But the true genius, as I think we can all agree, was testing it on cans of beer. Well done. 

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Nanoclast

IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

 
Editor
Dexter Johnson
Madrid, Spain
 
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Rachel Courtland
Associate Editor, IEEE Spectrum
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