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2013/14 Hydroceramic

INTELLIGENT CONSTRUCTIONS

[DMIC] DIGITAL MATTER

MASTER IN ADVANCED ARCHITECTURE [Students]: Elena Mitrofanova Akanksha Rathee Pongtida Santayanon [Faculty]: Director: Areti Markopoulou Senior Assistant: Alexandre Dubor Assistant: Moritz Begle

BARCELONA


Barcelona

MASTER IN ADVANCED ARCHITECTURE Thesis Project Title: HYDROCERAMIC

Research Studio: [DMIC] Digital Matter- Intelligent Constructions

by:

Akanksha Rathee Elena Mitrofanova Pongtida Santayanon

Director: Areti Markopoulou Senior Assistant: Alexandre Dubor Assistant: Moritz Begle Theory Support Seminar: Dennis Dollens


INDEX 01 Material properties 02 Expansive deformation 03 Main concept 04 Breathing system 05 Hydroceramic


Thesis The increasing development and application of “smart” materials in other industries has opened up new design possibilities at the material and “behavioral” scale of architecture. Smart materials react to external stimuli such as stress, temperature, moisture, pH and electromagnetic fields by changing their physical and chemical properties. These responses to external stimuli can allow for buildings to imitate life processes and enhance their performance. The studio [DMIC] DIGITAL MATTER INTELLIGENT CONSTRUCTIONS in the academic year 2014 at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunya aims to redefine and embed „intelligence“ into the built environment by the use of responsive materials, designing and implementing systems to aid the building performance by digital simulations and fabrication. The built environment then becomes a living thing as part of nature and not outside of it. We can start defining biological systems as metabolisms that are live processes between the building as an organism and its surroundings. One that reacts with the ecosystem in the form of feedback : learns from its surroundings and gives back. By the precise control of inputs for smart materials a series of properties (mechanical, electrical, optical, magnetic etc.) are exhibited which can be manifested into functionalities like self repairing, shape change, decontamination and transformation of energy.

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This project aims to speculate the thermodynamic processes in a building and how these can be tackled passively with a class of materials called „hydrogel“. The term „hydrogel“ refers to a class of substances that absorb and retain a large amount of water. Chemically they can be insoluble polymers of hydroxyethyl acrylate, acrylamide, polyethylene oxide, and others. As a cooling aid they work by exposing the absorbed water to a large surface area. Since the heat of vaporization of water is about 0.6 kilocalories per gram, a cooling effect occurs. Taking this phenomenon as a hypothesis, the project aims at prototyping a custom building element by the hygothermal (humidity and temperature) analysis of a building to meet the habitable conditions required for the comfort zone in a particular context.

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#01

material properties Super Absorbent Polymers (also called Superabsorbent Polymer and �SAP�) are a class of cross-linked, non-biodegradable polymers capable of absorbing and retaining up to 500 times their weight in water. It is ecologically friendly (non-toxic) material. As well inexpensive and available. Applications: Industrial (flood control, floral decoration, packaging & transportation, industrial waste management); Agriculture, horticulture & landscaping;

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Gel wound dressing, diapers and napkins, fake ice & artificial snow, underground cable water proofing, etc.

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Physical structure. Chemical reaction. Sodium polyacrylate belongs to a family of water loving or hydrophilic polymers. It is a powder which taked the form of a coiled chain. There are two important groups inside its polymer chain carbonyl (COOH) and sodium (Na). They are responsible for the overall absorption potential of the polymer. When the polymer is in the presence of a liquid, the sodium dissociates from the carbonyl group creating two ions, carboxyl (COO-) and sodium (Na+). The carboxyl groups then begin to repel each other because they have the same negative charge. As a result of the repulsion between the like charges, the sodium polyacrylate chain uncoils or swells and forms a gel substance. The action of swelling allows more liquid to associate with the polymer chain. There are four major contributors to sodium polyacrylate’s ability to absorb liquids or swell. These contributors are hydrophilic chains, charge repulsion, osmosis and cross-links between chains. Ions in the polymer chain such as carboxyl groups (COO-) and sodium (Na+) attract water molecules, thus making the polymer hydrophilic. Charge repulsion between carboxyl groups allow the polymer to

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uncoil and interact with more water molecules. Cross links between the polymer chains prevent polymer from dissolving in water and other liquids. When the chains become hydrated, the cross links prevent them from moving around randomly. This decrease in random movement or entropy producess a stiff gel. The number of cross links in polymer affects the amount of absorption for the polymer as well as the strength for the gel. For example, the more cross links in the chain, the less able the polymer is to absorb liquids and the stronger the produced gel.

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First exploration was to see it’s behavoir in water. We made this test with super absorbent powder that is used in hygiene products. We added 50 ml water to 1 ml of the material and it becamr hydrogel in 30 seconds.

polymer crystal 1 ml

adding water 50 ml

After adding 50 more to the gel in 20 seconds the gel becomes 120 ml. Adding 50 ml more of water the gel in 30 seconds gel becomes 190 ml.

hydrogel 51 ml

adding water +50 ml

20 seconds - hydrogel 120 ml

Reaction with water.

adding water +50 ml

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30 seconds - hydrogel 190 ml //layer of water visible

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We tried all of them to see the water absorption.

SAP in powder.

We were using three different sizes powder, crystals and spheres. These polymers have the capacity to increase 800 times in volume when put in water.

SAP in crystals (solid spheres).

Types of hydrogel.

SAP in gel.

To see if fully-absorbed hydrogel (the one that has stayed in form of gel for a long time) can still absorb more water if more time is given.

hydrogel 50 ml

adding water 50 ml

//gel pieces are floating in the water, not absorbing more of liquid

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Surface area and heat. We put super absorbent powder in a tube to check if it can transmit water through it’s volume. So we started to drop water from the top of the tube and SAP absorbed water untill it reached 50 mm from the upper line. Then the diffusion inside the material stopped. Second test is to see how we can dry the hydrogel. We put 50 ml of the substance in the microwave and it was dessicated in 7 minutes.

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2 ml of SAP powder in the tube + 10 ml of water from the top //started to absorb until reached 5 cm, then the diffusion of water in a tube with SAP stopped

hydrogel 50 ml

microwave 750 watts

7 minutes -gel pieces look smaller and scattered

we gather the pieces, there are crystal and gel

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If hydrogel can absorb water back and can be air-dried again.

Properties tests. dried hydrogel 2 ml

tap water 50 ml (absorbed)

air-dry for 20 minutes

the gel turned into crystal again

This test shows the reversible process in SAP. To check this we put 50 ml of water to the 2 ml of dried hydrogel (in powder). After it absorbed the liquid we air-dried with the heater and the gel turned into the crystal again. Second test is to check how crystals react with alcohol. In the mixture of 1 ml of SAP and 50 ml of alcohol after 15 minutes some of the crystals absorbed water but not completely.

How polymer crystal reacts when alcohol is added.

polymer crystal 1 ml

alcohol 50 ml

mix and leave it for 15 minutes

the crystal absorbed the alcohol but it looks very dry in comparison to the one with water

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If hydrogel can absorb water back and can be air-dried again.

Test on reverse reaction. hydrogel 50 ml

approximately 1.5 cm in size

after microwave 16 minutes

crystals are smaller in size

With hydrogel in crystlals we wanted to see the difference when it is air-dried either dried in a microwave. For air drying it took 2 days for 150 ml of fully absorbed hydrogel. And in microwave it took 16 minutes, the crystals became smaller in size than air-dried ones. The second test shows that dried in a microwave hydrogel can absorb water again. It absorbed 25 ml of water in 45 min and the rest (25 ml) over night.

If dried hydrogel can absorb water back in again.

dried large hydrogel 1 ml

45 minute

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tap water 50 ml mix and leave it for 15 minutes

over night - fully absorbed gel

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Reaction to acid. We made an experiment with the acid. After 1 hour the hydrogel became curdled instead of absorbed. So that acid solution can be separated from SAP. The internal structure is ruined.

hydrogel 25 ml lemon juice 25 ml mix without stirring

the gel became curdled instead of absorbed

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we can separate the liquid out veasily

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Reaction to the salt. As more salt is added to the hydrogel, the positive sodium ions (Na+) replaces water (H2O)and leaves less space for the water molecules. Negative charges along the chain repel each other less in the presence of the sodium ions and so the chains become morecoiled up. This also squeezes out water from the hydrogel. (a small change in salt concentration can have a significant effect on the amount of water leaving the hydrogel.

hydrogel 25 ml in crystals

gel pieces become smaller after 2 min

large hydrogel 25 ml

left overnight

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salt 5 ml

mix and stir

layers formed, water is released

salt 5 ml

stirred

gel pieces floating in the water

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#02

expansive deformation

On this phase of exploration we were searching for forms and geometries in prototypes that were responding to the expending in it’s volume property of Super Absorbent Polymers.

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Prototype 1 This prototype is combining the material expansion property with basic geometry to see the ability of the material whether it can cause the foam to bend.

Prototype 2 And also we tested with different type of crystals (artificial snow, small crystal and spherical crystal).

This prototype is to control the way the crystal grows. The fabric allows the water to pass and the folding geometry acts as container.

fist minute

one hour

spherical crystals were contained in each compartment of the prototype

artificial snow

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hydrogel in spheres

water was injected to only one side of the prototype

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Prototype 3

Prototype 4

Folding geometry allows the crystals to grow in the direction we want and to the form that we can design.

Elastic textile pockets filled with hydrogel swell when water comes. The layer with threads allow to divide pockets from each other so that they grow stepwise.

fabrication process

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Prototype 5 The prototype presents combinated material system. 1 layer is an absorbent fabric that is sewn with equal patches, 2 layer is a stretchable textile. Layers are sewn with each other creating pockets for hydrogel. Each section contains 7 - 10 Super Absorbent Polymer crystals.

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When it is dryed, the form is flattened and more 2-dimentional. Through the water absorbent, all the particles begin to swell and the basic structure tends to create spherical form.

absorbing 150 ml of water in 2.5 hours.

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#03

main concept

As a conclusion after first prototypes testing the movement we were trying to acheive was against the material behavior. The absorbent and drying process takes too long.

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Bio-inspiration Self-organisation is a process through which the internal organisation of the system adapts to the environment to promote a specific function without being controlled from outside. Biological systems have adapted and evolved over several billion years into efficient configurations, which are symbiotic with the environment. Form, structure, geometry, material, and behaviour are factors, which cannot be separated from one another. The premise of this research is to integrate cooling and actuation functions into a hydrogel composite material system. Staying cool is critically linked to staying hydrated. Yet the costs of air conditioning our homes and offices—equipment, installation, maintenance, and large amounts of electricity—are overwhelming. Here are some of nature’s strategies for staying cool when it gets hot. Plants and animals have a diversity of ways to keep cool. Some are well-known, like sweating. Others may be less familiar, such as how ticks pull water from the air.

The sweat glands of many mammals aid thermoregulation through evaporative cooling. “Sweat glands play an extremely important part in temperature control. Shaped like a tube, knotted at the bottom and opening out of the epidermis at a ‘pore’, sweat glands secrete a colourless liquid which evaporates on the surface of the skin removing excess heat.“ (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:79) The rounded shape of the leaves of pebble plants minimizes evaporation due to its low surface area relative to volume. “Pebble plants grow in the stonier patches of the same [Namib] [D]esert. They survive by living partly underground. Their leaves have been reduced to a single pair, fat, round and succulent. Such a rounded shape, with a very low surface area for a given volume, reduces evaporation to a minimum and is therefore a great help to the plant in conserving its water in the intense heat.” (Attenborough 1995:265)

Honeybee colonies collect water for cooling of the brood area by evaporation on hot days (Lindauer, 1955; Seeley, 1995). Water is collected by water foragers, then distributed around the hive and in cells containing eggs and larvae; fanning accelerates its evaporation, as does regurgitation and evaporation on the tongue (Lindauer, 1955).

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Typical evaporative cooling.

Hydro Panel cooling system.

Evaporative Cooling System Energy is required to change water from liquid to vapour. This energy is obtained in an adiabatic process from the air itself. Air entering an evaporative air cooler gives up heat energy to evaporate water.

Evaporative air conditioning uses evaporation to cool the air. In an evaporative cooler, such as Breezair, a pump circulates water from the reservoir on to a cooling pad, which in turn becomes very wet. A fan draws air from outside the unit through the moistened pad. As it passes through the pad the air is cooled by evaporation. Hydro Panel Cooling System

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Spherical hydrogel

good in structural behavior strong type of hydrogel (because of the amount of cross links) slow water discharge rate least surface area compare to other shape measurable in term of volume

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Mother model Thinking about architectural application we created hydropanels. Inside we placed hydrogel and capped the panel from both sides to hold it. The exterior side has perforations to collect the rain water to feed the polymer.

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Material test For the interior part we tried 3 types of materials with different porosity and thermal properties to see which one is better with our material. We made both solid and perforated panels made of plastic, aluminium and clay. To check it’s behavoir were created closed boxes with the frame for the panels on top to see the effect of cooling inside a volume. As well we made one neutral panel meaning without the hydrogel. For the measuring we used Arduino board with temperature and humidity sensors DHT and recorded graphs comparing all the panels with hydrogel to the neutral one.

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solid aluminium

Neutral

neutral

tes perforated aluminium

Test showing difference in 0.3 degrees between the perforated aluminium panel and the neutral one. This difference happened because hydrogel dried fastly.

luminum

Test showing difference in 3.4 degrees between the solid aluminium panel and the neutral one.

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solid Alumin

test 2

perforated Aluminum

Neutral solid Aluminum

neutral

um

luminum

Neutral

test 1

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solid Plastic

tes perforated plastic

Test showing difference in 3.5 degrees between the solid plastic panel and the neutral one. This difference happened because hydrogel dried fastly.

luminum

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tic

Test showing difference in 4.4 degrees between the solid plastic panel and the neutral one.

neutral

perforated Plastic

solid plastic

Neutral

neutral

solid Plastic

Neutral

luminum

test 4

Neutral

test 3

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test 5

neutral solid clay

Neutral

tes

Neutral

Test showing difference in 6.4 degrees between the solid clay panel and the neutral one. It is the best cooling result.

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neutral solid clay

Test showing difference in 6.3 degrees between the perforated clay panel and the neutral one. But the humidity rised to 70% because of perforations.

luminum

luminum

test 6

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Difference in cooling according to outside temperature

Graphs show the difference in temperature according to outside conditions. This distinction directly depends on the evaporation process. As it is shown in a small test the water evaporates faster in more heated environment. The faster evaporation happens the more cooling comes.

Air dried 20oC 2 days 5 ml of SAP

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Dried with hot air 60oC 20 min 5 ml of SAP

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Psychrometric Chart This is analysys of the results from the test. The slope of the plotted lines represents the humidity and the magnitude in the negative x axis represents the drop in temperature. The clay reduses the temperature a lot and increases the humidity in maximum.

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Psychrometric Chart This is analysys of the results from the test. The slope of the plotted lines represents the humidity and the magnitude in the negative x axis represents the drop in temperature. The clay reduses the temperature a lot and increases the humidity in maximum. We compared three cities to see which panel suits the best.

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Growth of the hydrogel The process of feeding the panels with water . You can see how hydrogel expands.

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Shading and transparency. prototype 1, 2 According to different densities of SAP inside the transparent panel varieties of shading patterns can be created.

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Shading and transparency. prototype 3, 4 According to different densities of SAP inside the transparent panel varieties of shading colored patterns can be created. This can be applied to surfaces consequently to solar radiation.

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Shading and transparancy. prototype 5 Water from 1st valve into the water container around the geometry.

The walls in the middle are peforated so the water slowly passes throught into the hydrogel.

According to different densities of SAP inside the transparent panel varieties of shading colored patterns can be created. This can be applied to surfaces consequently to solar radiation. 2nd valve fills the other half of the pattern and creats 100% shading and cooling system

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#04

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breathing system

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Biomimicry For the inspiration we looked in the nature In botany, a stoma is a pore, found in the epidermis of leaves, stems and other organs that is used to control gas exchange. The pore is bordered by a pair of specialized parenchyma cells known as guard cells that are responsible for regulating the size of the opening. We wanted to achieve kind of the same behavoir for the cooling.

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Breathing skin Our next test was to create breathing skin to cover the hydrogel. The idea is that it opens according to the growth of the hydrogel when it absorbes water to create cooling. And the system works better when it is ventilated. This layer is made of silicone.

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Prototype 1. Proceeding from the previous tests with panels (temperature and humidity graphs) we choosed clay for the future models. In this prototype absorbing water fabric is used as a breathing skin holding the hydro spheres.

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Prototype 2. The same idea of breathing system occures in the cylindrical prototypes. Where hydrogel is kept by the fabric attaching to the walls. While SAP is swelling it is geting out with fabric through openings.

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#05

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hydroceramic

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CLAY HYDROTILE

Tracks in clay for water transfer. Bending curves help to hold it.

In this prototype water tracks are created in clay. We used reaction diffusion patterns for it. As well there are hydrogel nests to keep it properly.

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Second prototype. Mold for clay is lazercutted and assembled in prticles. In this prototype we tried plastic clay and it didn’t show good result, it was to hard to take it out of mold.

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Hand work. We decided to use low temperature clay for the tiles. The one curvature prototype in this material was made completely manually.

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Clay 3D printing. The next technique we tried was clay 3d printing. In this case tile in different shapes can be created but they should be mostly planar meaning without curvature in the surface. 3D printing is able to create water chanels inside the clay tile.

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Clay 3D printing Results. The next technique we tried was clay 3d printing. In this case tile in different shapes can be created but they should be mostly planar meaning without curvature in the surface. 3D printing is able to create water chanels inside the clay tile.

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Milling molds Prototype 1. As we wanted to search in a curvature surfaces for our tiles we decided to use molds. They were made using CNC milling machine.

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Final prototype. For the final prototype we took molding technique. The tile consists of two layers of clay, fabric and hydrogel. the outside layer presents surface fiiled with opened volcanoes to create ventilation and acsess for water and air to hydrogel. the conical shape gives the specific direction for the growing spheres during the absorptoin. then comes layer of fabric that soaks water and works as a liquid transmitter through all the system. also it holds the elements keeping it from falling out through its elasticity. The inside layer is a thin clay surface with bumps that gives collness to the building.

clay breathing layer

stretching fabric

hydrogel

clay supporting layer

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Milling moulds Prototype 2. We made 4 molds for the clay: two as a molding part and two as a press.

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Milling moulds Prototype 2. We made 4 molds for the clay: two as a molding part and two as a press.

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Milling moulds Prototype 2. The tile consists of two layers of clay, fabric and hydrogel. the outside layer presents surface fiiled with opened volcanoes to create ventilation and acsess for water and air to hydrogel. the conical shape gives the specific direction for the growing spheres during the absorptoin. then comes layer of fabric that soaks water and works as a liquid transmitter through all the system. also it holds the elements keeping it from falling out through its elasticity. The inside layer is a thin clay surface with bumps that gives collness to the building.

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Milling moulds Prototype 2. We made a test comparing the humidity and temperature in the boxes covered one with hydroceramic tiles, one with clay tiles without hydrogel. The difference in temperature came up to 4 degrees.

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hydrogel

ceramic layer

hot air

holding textile

ceramic layer

cool air

cool air

cool air

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COOLING PAVILION future application

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hydroceramic tile distribution of tiles covering the pavilion according to the solar radiation

shape of the pavilion allows to create the natural ventilation which is important for the whole system

solar radiation

distribution of tiles and “volcanoes� filled with hydrogel

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THE SYSTEM

AC CONSUMPTION CALCULATION a medium window type AC consumes 1200 Wh 8 hrs / day 9600 Wh 30 days / month 288 kWh cost of electricity in BCN 0.15 euro per 1 kWh for 1 month 43.2 euro Lowering down the temperature by every degree, increases the power consumption exponentially. Just by setting the AC 1’ Celsius higher saves 7% of overall power consumption. With the HydroPanel you lower down 4’ Celsius from external temperature so you can save up to 28% of the overall electricity caused by 1 AC.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT An average medium size consumes 1200 Wh of electricity. Every 1 kWh of electricity consumption results 0.7 Kg of CO2 emission. An AC usage in one month produces 288 x 0.7 = 201.6 Kg. By saving 28% of the AC electricity consumption we save 80.64 kWh. This means we reduce 56.448 Kg a month.

http://www.carbonrally.com/challenges/22-air-conditioner-costs http://old.wwfchina.org/aboutwwf/miniwebsite/greenolympics/20to20en.pdf

Cost of Production

The volume of one sphere is 2 cubic cm. 1 panel contains about 100 hydrogel spheres which equals 200 cubic cm of water. To feed the panel for one sqm you need 3 Litre per sqm. (Which can be collected from rain water or grey water due to the “filter” property of hydrogel).

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Cost of the panel Material 4 mm Glass Clay Hydrogel Total

80 cent 50 cent 60 cent 1.80 euro

28 euro per sqm.

equals

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Hydropanel booklet