the world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

Sign up now to save and organize your favorite architecture projects

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

Find the most inspiring products in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

i

All over the world, architects are finding cool ways to re-use run-down old buildings. Click here to see the best in Refurbishment Architecture.

Want to see the coolest refurbishment projects? Click here.

i

Immerse yourself in inspiring buildings with our selection of 360 videos. Click here.

See our immersive, inspiring 360 videos. Click here.

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
Navigate articles using your keyboard
  1. ArchDaily
  2. News
  3. IaaC Students Develop a Passive Cooling System from Hydrogel and Ceramic

IaaC Students Develop a Passive Cooling System from Hydrogel and Ceramic

IaaC Students Develop a Passive Cooling System from Hydrogel and Ceramic
IaaC Students Develop a Passive Cooling System from Hydrogel and Ceramic, Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Students at the Digital Matter Intelligent Constructions studio at Barcelona's Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia have created a composite facade material of clay and hydrogel, which is capable of cooling building interiors by up to 6 degrees centigrade. Entitled Hydroceramic, the material utilizes the ability of hydrogel to absorb up to 500 times its own weight in water to create a building system that "becomes a living thing as part of nature and not outside of it."

Read on after the break for more on how Hydroceramic works.

A proposal for a "cooling pavilion" designed with a hydroceramic skin. Image Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia A proposal for a "cooling pavilion" designed with a hydroceramic skin. Image Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia Hydrogel pellets, both with and without absorbed water. Image Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia + 13

Responding to the recent proliferations of "smart" materials and highly technological solutions, the team "aimed to redefine and embed ‘intelligence’ into the built environment by the use of responsive materials," creating a passive system that responds to changes in its environment by leveraging material properties.

Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Hydroceramic works due to the cooling effect provided by evaporating water. By absorbing large quantities of water, the hydrogel pellets that are spread throughout the composite material expose a large surface area for evaporation to occur, which both decreases the temperature and increases the humidity of the surrounding air. In turn, the material is therefore responsive: the cooling effect is greatest when the surrounding environment is warm, but when the surrounding is cool little evaporation occurs.

Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Through testing, the students determined that the best material to accompany the hydrogel was clay, which performed more effectively than acrylic and aluminum thanks to its porous nature, which assists the evaporation in the hydrogel pellets. Tested at temperatures between 35-40 degrees centigrade, the material produced a reduction in temperature of 6.4 degrees after 20 minutes, with an increase in humidity of 15.5 percent. The students reason that this can generate a 28 percent reduction in the electricity required for air conditioning.

A proposal for a "cooling pavilion" designed with a hydroceramic skin. Image Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
A proposal for a "cooling pavilion" designed with a hydroceramic skin. Image Courtesy of IAAC Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Hydroceramic is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed in the Masters in Advanced Architecture in 2013-14 by:

Students: Akanksha Rathee, Pong Santayanon, Elena Mitrofanova
Senior Faculty: Areti Markopoulou
Assistants: Alexandre Dubor, Moritz Begle

View the complete gallery

About this author
Rory Stott
Author
Cite: Rory Stott. "IaaC Students Develop a Passive Cooling System from Hydrogel and Ceramic" 21 Jan 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/590348/iaac-students-develop-a-passive-cooling-system-from-hydrogel-and-ceramic/> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments