Assistant Prof. Shuang Cui
University of Texas at Dallas
Dr. Shuang Cui currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and also a joint faculty member in the Buildings and Thermal Sciences Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Prior to that, Dr. Cui was a research scientist at NREL. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Cui directs the Thermal Energy Storage and Conversion (TESC) Lab at UTD. Her research focuses on both fundamental study of nanoscale heat transfer and energy conversion and advanced materials development, spanning intelligent soft materials/devices and advanced thermal energy storage materials and systems. She collaborates with scientists and engineers from diverse fields including mechanical, electrical, chemical, and civil engineers, material scientists, and chemists to pursue her research projects on thermal metrology development for nanomaterials and smart materials for thermal regulation, energy storage, water harvesting, and desalination. Her research has been supported by multiple federal agencies (DOE BTO, TTO, ARPA-E, NREL, and UTD) and private sector partners (Wells-Fargo) leading to 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and 4 patents. She will continue her research on the development of green, intelligent, and energy-efficient living systems. Dr. Cui received President’s Award for Exceptional Performance at NREL. She is also highlighted by the DOE “Women @ Energy: STEM Rising” and has been a selected participant of the International School for Materials for Energy and Sustainability VIII at Caltech, 2019 U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium at Texas A&M University, and the Rising Stars Women in Engineering Workshop at Seoul National University (Korea).
Title: Phase change materials for energy-efficient thermal comfort control of buildings
Abstract: The buildings sector accounts for over 40% of all U.S. primary energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2018, ~7.59 quads of energy (equivalent to ~$20 billion) was lost through unnecessary large area environmental conditioning and poor thermal insulation of building components, making it imperative to reduce energy consumption in buildings through the development of next-generation, energy-efficient building technologies and practices. Superabsorbent polymers, or hydrogels, are materials that contain more than ~ 90 wt% water and are commonly used in contact lenses, wound dressing, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. Recently, hydrogels have been proposed for temperature and humidity control of buildings due to their superabsorbent and environmentally friendly capability. The goal of this study was to develop hydrogels-based phase change materials for energy-efficient thermal comfort control of buildings. Multiple approaches at the forefront of hydrogels for next-generation building technologies have been studied including the development of artificial ‘skins’ for building cooling, thermo-responsive adsorbents for moisture control, and composite phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage.