Congratulations to Elise Strobach for successfully defending her PhD on Optically Transparent, Thermally Insulating and Soundproofing (OTTIS) Aerogel for High-Efficiency Window Applications.
During her PhD, Elise developed a high-clarity silica aerogel optimized for use in building windows that is able to achieve visible transmittance over 98 % and thermal conductivity lower than 13 mW/mK. This performance was achieved by careful tailoring of the interconnected particle network driven by optical modeling to reduce effective scattering size within the material below 10 nm diameter. Elise also characterized the optical, thermal and acoustic properties of the materials, demonstrating that sealing high-clarity aerogel into the gaps of existing double-pane window designs, we can achieve a center-of-glazing U-factor of 0.20 BTU/h/ft2/F, which is 35-50% more insulating than current building codes across North America. early thermal results and a production-scale techno-economic analysis indicate the aerogel has the ability to achieve cost-effective thermal performance that is competitive with traditional double- and triple-pane windows. Successful development and commercialization of this high-clarity aerogel has the potential to save billions of dollars in annual building energy losses while satisfying the diverse and complex needs of our buildings.