09 Mar 2015

3D-printed bricks can cool a room with water

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The bricks utilize the principle of evaporative cooling, where water vapor is added to air to lower the temperature. If you’ve ever hung a wet cloth in front of the window to cool the breeze flowing in, you’ve used the same principle.

Each 3D-printed cool brick, has a three dimensional ceramic lattice-like structure that can hold water in its pores, like a sponge. When air flows through the porous brick it absorbs evaporated water vapor, becoming cooler in the process. According to the designers, if all the walls of a home were built with porous, water-logged cool bricks, the air flow through them could bring down the home’s internal temperature.

“It’s an alternative to air conditioning or an electric swamp cooler,” Ronald Rael, one of the designers, tells Gizmag. “It is a much more natural, energy-saving tactic for passive cooling in arid environments.”

An Associate Professor, at the University of California, Berkeley, Rael along with co-designer Virginia San Fratello, drew inspiration from the Muscatese evaporative cooling window used in desert climes to humidify and cool dry, hot air. The window makes use of a water-filled ceramic container positioned behind a wooden screen to humidify and cool the air blowing in.