College of Engineering and Polymer Science

Date of Last Revision

2023-05-04 20:48:51


Chemical Engineering

Honors Course


Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2021


With HVAC and building energy usage expected to increase, there is a strong need for autonomous thermal management solutions. In particular, there has been a growing interest in thermoresponsive (TR) smart windows that are activated by ambient temperature changes. Most TR smart windows contain a liquid solution between two panes. The goal of this research project was to develop a self-supporting smart window by forming a gel that maintained its TR properties. A gel is less prone to spilling in the case of window breakage. It was also desired to tune the phase transition to occur at environmentally relevant conditions for a building. Solutions were prepared with varying concentrations of glycerol, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) – and analyzed using UV-vis spectroscopy and cloud point measurements. A highly viscous gel was formed when 15 wt% HPC and 1 wt% SDS were added to a solution containing 50 wt% glycerol and water. This gel had a phase transition at 28°C. This sample’s heat-shielding performance was then tested under the heat of an incandescent light bulb, resulting in a heat-shielding of 56% compared to a 9% heat shielding when only glass slides were used.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Ruel McKenzie

First Reader

Dr. Bi-min Newby

Second Reader

Dr. Roya Gitiafroz

Honors Faculty Advisor

Dr. Bi-min Newby



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