New polymer films conduct heat instead of trapping it

Polymers are usually the go-to material for thermal insulation. Think of a silicone oven mitt, or a Styrofoam coffee cup, both manufactured from polymer materials that are excellent at trapping heat.

Improving geothermal HVAC systems with mathematics

Extreme weather events, water shortages, and other consequences of climate change have challenged—and compromised—energy infrastructure around the world. Increased energy consumption is threatening the longevity of a ...

Enhancing 'breath figures' using electric fields

Breath figures are the typical condensation patterns we know from breathing on a cold surface. In physics, this term is used to describe dropwise condensation patterns. The evolution of these patterns and roll-off of droplets ...

Storing thermal solar energy from summer to winter

Can thermal solar energy be stored until wintertime? Within a European research consortium Empa scientists and their colleagues have spent four years studying this question by pitting three different techniques against each ...

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