Passive Radiative Cooling

Welcome to our capstone website for mechanical engineering! This site is dedicated to showcasing the hard work and innovation of our mechanical engineering capstone as we complete our project. As a discipline, mechanical engineering focuses on the design, production, and operation of mechanical systems. This can include everything from small individual parts and mechanisms, to large-scale machines and structures. Our capstone project gives us the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems and challenges. The project on this site demonstrate the creativity and technical expertise of our students, as well as their ability to work independently and in teams. Thank you for visiting our site and please take some time to explore the amazing project on display for the capstone website.



Anubhav Kothari


Sabin Wright


Tori Smith


Logan Yeoman

Project Description

Cooling human spaces, data centers, process fluids and shrinking microprocessors are an ever-growing requirement in our warming planet where ambient temperatures - our cold reservoir - are rising. The increased cooling loads can lead to increased electricity demand from fossil-fuel generators, and in turn greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating the global warming phenomenon. To break this feedback loop, many innovative strategies have been recently developed to cool without the release of additional GHG emissions, like passive radiative cooling. Passive radiative cooling is an approach that uses nanostructured materials that can exchange heat with space by radiatively emitting thermal energy in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that greenhouse gases do not absorb, and in turn cannot re-emit as thermal energy back to the earth’s surface.  This project tasks a team of students to design, test and   

Analyze the performance of a heat exchanger apparatus that is coated with a “self-cooling” paint that contains these nanostructured materials, hopefully supplied by the technology company, developer. Note, 3M is also developing film technology made from these same kinds of nanostructured materials, but neither company has yet to commercially release a product. The goal of the capstone project is to identify a cooling need for our NAU Mountain campuse located in hotter climates, design a test rig , complete with instrumentation and data acquisition, that allows for the measurement and optimization of ejected heat from the heat source via radiation, this includes a test rig for control coatings like commercially available reflective paint. Create a thermal model that predicts the steady state rate of heat transfer from the device that can then be validated using the measurements from the heat exchanger rig.   



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