Thermoregulation Using Hybrid Materials

This seminar is about designing hybrid materials to orchestrate the flow of heat through buildings in novel ways. The primary aim is inspire interest in the phenomenology of heat and the possibilities of \’doing architecture\’ at the material scale. Ideas and design methods from materials science, thermodynamics and heat transfer engineering will be introduced, with a focus on design-led learning through practical application and experiment.

Hybrid materials combine the properties of two (or more) monolithic materials, or of one material and space. This space can be empty (a vacuum) or filled with a liquid or a gas. Examples include fibrous and particulate composites, foams and lattices, sandwiches and almost all natural materials. In all these examples, the special properties arise mainly from the play of shape and scale – in other words, the architecture.

Students will organize themselves in groups of two or three and will be evaluated on the basis of a semester-long project. They will design, build and test their own thermally responsive \’hollowcore wall.The idea is to design the internal architecture of the wall (block, brick) to control natural convection inside the cavities.

Students will be shown how to model the thermal and structural performance analytically. They will use these mathematical models to interrogate and understand the thermal processes at work, and to inform their Industrial and Architectural designs – ie how it will be manufactured, and how it will be used in a building. They will finish by building, testing, and evaluating a thermal prototype. Alongside the course project, a series of contextual lectures will be given, designed to get students to think more deeply and fluently about the interaction of energy with materials and Architecture.

This course has an IRREGULAR meeting schedule. The seminar will convene every two weeks, on a Thursday and Friday afternoon. Normally, lectures will be given on Thursdays while tutorials and project reviews will occur on Fridays.