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Researchers at University College London (UCL) claim that a “revolutionary” new type of window could cut cleaning costs in tall buildings and reduce heating bills by up to 40% thanks to a new combination of nano-scale engineering inspired by the eyes of moths, and thermochromic coating.
The prototype, revealed today, has conical nanostructures engraved on its surface that trap air and prevent all but a tiny amount of water coming into actual contact with the glass. It means that rain hitting the glass turns into balls and roll right off, carrying dirt with them.
In normal glass raindrops cling and slide down more slowly, leaving a trail of residue.
The lead UCL researcher said this would be a big draw for high-rise building owners, since the cost of cleaning the windows surpasses the cost of installing them after the first five years.
The glass is also coated with a very thin (5-10 nanometre) film of vanadium dioxide which during cold periods keeps thermal radiation in and, during hot periods, keeps infrared radiation out. […]