Switchable Mirror

May 21, 2017

Electrochromic mirror window

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have developed a mirror that quickly shifts between reflective and transparent states. The switchable mirror consists of a thin layer of magnesium-titanium alloy film encapsulated between two layers of glass. The scientists introduce a gas (either 1 percent hydrogen or 20 percent oxygen) to induce the window’s switching behavior.

In the development of early prototypes, researcher Kazuki Yoshimura and his team found that a magnesium-nickel alloy imparted a yellow tinge when transparent. However, the new magnesium-titanium version lacks this undesirable coloration. With the largest prototype at 24 x 28″ (60 x 70 cm) in size, AIST scientists anticipate the switchable mirror will reduce energy consumed by air conditioning systems in buildings and automobiles by over 30 percent, simply by reflecting rather than admitting solar heat.

Contact: National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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