Breathing ‘Thermo Bi-Metals’

Modern buildings with large windows may offer great views, but require a lot of energy to cool. Doris Kim Sung uses thermo bi-metals – smart material design that resembles human skin, “dynamically and responsively” shading a room from sun and self-ventilating.

Doris was a biology major before going into architecture. She observed that “the human skin is the organ that naturally regulates the temperature in the body, and it’s a fantastic thing. That’s the first line of defense for the body. It has pores, it has sweat glands, it has all these things that work together very dynamically and very efficiently, and so what I propose is that our building skinsshould be more similar to human skin, and by doing so can be much more dynamic, responsive and differentiated, depending on where it is.”


She currently works with smart thermo-bimetal, called smart because it requires no controls and no energy to operate. “What it is, it’s a lamination of two different metals together. You can see that here by the different reflection on this side. And because it has two different coefficients of expansion, when heated, one side will expand faster than the other and result in a curling action. … One, it’s a sun-shading device, so that when the sun hits the surface, it constricts the amount of sun passing through, and in other areas, it’s a ventilating system, so that hot, trapped air underneath can actually move through and out when necessary.”

You can see Doris make her full presentation at this TED conference:

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