ETH tests building materials with artificial sun

Zurich – In a new laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), researchers can test building materials under different climatic conditions. To this end, the Zero Carbon Building Systems Lab was equipped with an artificial sun.

ETH now has a laboratory in which researchers can test building systems, components and materials under various climatic conditions. At the heart of the Zero Carbon Building Systems Lab is an artificial sun, explains ETH in a press release. It consists of a swivel arm with hundreds of powerful LEDs and can simulate the movement of the sun in different parts of the world.

In addition, the exterior walls, ceilings and floors of the laboratory’s three research cells can be replaced with prototypes to be tested. Among other things, a semi-transparent façade made of printed polymer is currently being tested, which is designed to shield or transmit sunlight depending on the angle of incidence. It was developed by a group of researchers led by Arno Schlüter. The ETH Professor of Architecture and Building Systems also initiated the Zero Carbon Building Systems Lab.

“If you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, materials, building technology and the behavior of the occupants all play a role,” Schlüter is quoted as saying in the press release. “In the Zero Carbon Building Systems Lab, we can research the interaction of these factors.” The new laboratory will also be open to external researchers and industrial partners. ce/hs