Butterfly Buildings

photo credit: melolou via photopin cc

Imagine a building shining with shimmering iridescence, self-cleaning, and with the option for its owner to change colour and opacity at will.

No longer the stuff of fantasy, this is a real possibility for the future, thanks to work carried out by Shu Yang at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Modelling the end result on the structure of butterfly wings, her team subjected a material known as photoresist to laser and solvent treatment. This produced a substance ideal for coating solar panels, keeping them cleaner and drier and therefore more resistant.

Shu Yang sees the potential of the material in building design too. If a low cost version can be developed, this new product could change the face of our cities forever.


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