Ladies and gentleman, this marks the beginning of the Luckett & Farley interior design department’s branding adventure. The new Materialuscious logo is just the beginning. We’ll be introducing new content, activities and materials very soon.

 

Now, for you techies, fashionistas and building owners who want to show the world your commitment to smart design, there are exciting new developments in the world of photovoltaics. So tell the sun to bring it on, because you'll be fitted for maximum solar energy harvesting.

I’ve had my eye on this product for about two years and waiting for the opportunity to use it on a project.  It’s an amazing photovoltaic product made by Konarka.  This “power plastic” technology is rooted in a photo-reactive polymer material invented by the company’s co-founder Dr. Alan Heeger.  Dr. Heeger won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000 for the discovery and development of conductive polymers.

The team from UMASS Lowell’s Institute for Nanoscience Engineering & Technology, led by the late Dr. Sukant Tripathy, discovered a method of processing photovoltaic materials at low temperatures, enabling them to use low-cost polymers to encapsulate the photovoltaic cells.  With the use of Dr. Heeger’s material, Konarka’s products can be printed or coated with color, opaque or translucent.  They are manufactured using the roll-to-roll method (think printing newspapers on large rolls of paper) and then attached to various substrates.

The flexible nature of this product is what makes it so enticing to designers.  Because it is so thin and flexible, it can be incorporated into almost any application imaginable; architectural glazing, canopies, drapery fabric, bike racks, furniture, even clothing and accessories.  “Power plastic” is effective in indirect light and even on vertical surfaces.  It operates in temperatures of -4F to 149F and can be stored at -40F to 167F.  The harvested power can be used immediately or stored for future use, making it a true energy saver.

The best part is that the lightweight “power plastic” is portable, making it the perfect tool for on the go professionals, students, or groups without utilities.  Just a small panel on a bag can charge the battery of a portable electronic device.  Who says science can't be stylish?


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