Texas A&M Researchers Enabling Buildings To ‘Breathe’


College of Architecture researchers are creating “smart skins” that allow structures to respond to heat, making them more energy efficient.

Buildings may one day “breathe,” and they might be able to function in their own environment with the help a type of “smart skin” developed by a team of Texas A&M University researchers.

The team from the College of Architecture, comprised of Zofia Rybkowski, Negar Kalantar, Ergun Akleman, Tahir Cagin and Terry Creasy, is supported by an approximately $240,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the research, the team said, is to make a building that is attractive and functional, but also more energy efficient.

Using what they call a “shape-memory polymer,” the team has developed building skins that could allow a building to breathe on its own, much like a living system.

“When it’s hot, we want the building skin to be open to absorb air, and when it’s cold, we want it closed, without using external mechanical devices or electrical devices,” said Maryam Mansoori, one of more than 60 Texas A&M students who are also heavily involved in the project.

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Image via Texas A&M University