The University of Macau (UM) held a science popularisation talk, titled ‘Build a House with Magic Nanofoam’, during the Open Day, in order to increase public interest in science. Sun Guoxing, an assistant professor of UM’s Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering, was the keynote speaker. During the talk, Sun talked about nanofoam cement, a new type of building material that performs far better than traditional cement in thermal insulation, energy conservation, and fire prevention.
According to Dr Sun, energy consumption of heating and cooling systems accounts for about 20 per cent of the total energy consumption in China. Currently, the market is largely dominated by organic insulation materials, such as foam polyurethane and foam polystyrene. However, in the event of a fire, these combustible materials are extremely likely to cause a serious disaster. In comparison, nanofoam is very stable in air and even in fire, because the boundaries among the bubbles in the foam are strengthened by nanoparticles. Compared to ordinary cement, nanofoam cement is lightweight and noncombustible and has better heat insulation properties. Moreover, it has smaller pores and greater strength. The amount of cement required (which determines the cost of materials) and the weight of the finished product (which determines the cost of transport and assembly) for producing nanofoam cement is 20 to 40 per cent lower than producing ordinary cement with the same strength. It can be used to build prefabricated houses that are lightweight, durable, energy efficient, and fire-resistant.
Dr Sun has a multidisciplinary background, with expertise in such areas as chemistry, nanocomposites, polymer crystallisation, surface science, and civil engineering (construction material). His research interests include polymer/cement nanocomposites, polymer hydrogel enhanced by cement-released nanoparticles, and nanoparticle-stabilised foam. So far, Dr Sun has published more than 40 academic papers. He holds six China patents and one United States patent as the first or principal inventor.
Source: Communications Office
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Release on 2020-01-13 16:45