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Novel Glass Composite Offers Superior Thermal Insulation

A new composite glass that combines the nacre-inspired structure and shear stiffening gel (SSG) material has been developed by a research team led by Professors Yong Ni and Linghui He from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Novel Glass Composite Offers Superior Thermal Insulation
The comprehensive performance of NSG. Image Credit: Prof. Ni’s team

The glass maintains transparency while demonstrating excellent impact resistance and thermal insulation. Advanced Materials published their work.

Bulk glass is an essential structural component used daily. Glass is the weakest material in most structures and automobiles because it has inadequate thermal insulation and is easily broken in an accident. The development of new composite transparent materials with all-around performance is desperately needed.

The group researched the rheological characteristics of shear stiffening materials and the nacre-inspired structure to create a novel composite glass. Under quasistatic or low-speed impact loading, the natural nacre can release energy through the tablet sliding mechanism.

As impact velocities increase, the nacre-inspired structure’s impact resistance rapidly decreases. On the other hand, SSG can dissipate a significant amount of mechanical energy at high impact velocities due to their strain-rate-dependent enhancement effects under impact loading.

The team used SSG to create a biomimetic composite glass that combines the benefits of shear stiffening materials with nacre-inspired structures. Two 1.4-mm-thick nacre-inspired glass facesheets and a 3.0-mm-thick SSG core comprised the nacre-inspired SSG glass (NSG). To replicate the structure of natural nacre, the facesheets comprised five borosilicate glass sheets and four polymeric interlayers arranged in a 3D staggered brick-and-mortar pattern.

The SSG core was attached to the facesheets with the help of the coupling agent following the careful alignment of the two facesheets.

The results of mechanical simulation analysis showed that the out-of-plane deformation of the nacre-inspired glass panels in NSG can further enhance the energy dissipation in the SSG core. The nacre-inspired structure and SSG work together to dissipate energy, making the NSG more impact-resistant over a wider range of impact velocities.

The NSG demonstrates excellent thermal insulation. With its distinct brick-and-mortar layout, the nacre-inspired glass panel efficiently lowers surface heat conduction. When combined with the SSG core’s low thermal conductivity, NSG’s thermal insulation performance is noticeably enhanced.

Compared to bulk glass, which is used frequently, NSG offers better overall performance in terms of transparency, lightweight, impact resistance, and thermal insulation. This opens up new possibilities for the development of transparent structural materials in the future.

Journal Reference:

Zhang, X., et al. (2024) Simultaneous Enhancement of Thermal Insulation and Impact Resistance in Transparent Bulk Composites. Advanced Materials.



  1. Gizachew Diga Gizachew Diga Ethiopia says:

    This is good explanation. What advantagous nacre-inspired glass offer over SiO2 glass?
    With Thanks!

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