In Physics, we learned that white surface can be used to reflect heat whereas a dark surface is ideal to absorb heat and that is how it has been reflected on the tiles color design and implementation targeted for different seasons and environment conditions. While the white and shining tiles is suitable to reflect heat during summer season, and the dark color tiles are ideal to absorb heat to keep your house warmer during winter season, have you ever wonder how good it would be if the tiles color can be varied based on ambient temperature or environment seasonal change so that you get the best benefits out of them? Good news now with the innovative solution from a team of recent MIT graduates, the color changing tiles can be an ideal solution best fitted to seasonal and weather change based on ambient temperature and material reactions.
The research team known as Thermeleon was one of the participants in MADMEC (Making and Designing Material Engineering Contest) 2009 which had successfully won the first place with its new prototype emphasizing on how to improve energy efficiency through innovative use of materials. The mechanism behind the special designed tiles material is based on mixed fluids (white and dark color) and its density can be varied based on temperature that eventually make the respective substance float to the top respectively, creating a different color needed to absorb/reflect the heat necessarily. Further improvement has been made with a polymer solution (with micro-encapsulation) that allows users to spray directly to conventional tiles surface while still able to maintain is color-changing ability with even more practical usage.
However, before it can be practically use, there are still some technical roadblocks such as the durability which is the bigger concern now before it can be available to commercial market. Nevertheless, this is definitely a great idea with some initial working prototypes readiness and the effort is expected to be continued as part of good initiative towards greener environment.