Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Advanced plastic material acts as temperature sensor

A new thermal optical material expands sensor science into greenhouse technology. The Italian Research Institute has introduced a synthesis of different polymers that can be used in acrylic sheets for greenhouses, thus providing greater heat resistance.
Advanced plastic material acts as temperature sensor
Acrylic glass is not only cheaper and safer than normal glass, it also protects from heavy sunlight thanks to the development of thermo-optical properties and the use of highly specialised Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA).

The advanced thermo-optical properties of this new PMMA based material are a combination of prepolymer liquid and mould. Common PMMA material on the other hand consists of tough, see-through, shatterproof plastic. Compared to this, the novel material may be four times stronger than the typical PMMA.

When heated at a temperature between 50ºC to 70ºC, this sun proof shield of iso-optical and inorganic glass produces a highly scattered sunlight. Such scattering of light produces the non-shadow effect in the sense that the hottest hours of the day become the most productive. Conversely, when the material cools down, it becomes more transparent than common glass. Good use of this type of glass is possible for the durable covering of greenhouses, in order to protect the crops from dangerous exposure to heat.

Due to its unique electro and thermo-optical switches, the new material contributes to the production of cheap temperature sensors with multiple applications such as in bone cement or for the making of windows, dentures, aquariums, bathtubs, sinks or even paintings. Currently the Italian research institute is looking for a chemical company that would be interested in producing the material.
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