Check out these cool 3D-printed bricks (seriously, they’re called Cool Bricks) that act like little air conditioners without the hefty electric bill. The bricks are made of a porous ceramic material that soaks up water like a sponge. When hot, dry air from the outside flows through the bricks, the water evaporates, and cooler, slightly damper air flows through the inside. Build an entire wall out of these puppies, and who knows what would happen! Actually, we know exactly what would happen — they’d help cool your home, and you’d lay off the freakin’ AC for a while.
Perhaps you’re wondering: Don’t air conditioners help dehumidify the air? Well yes, but evaporative cooling does the opposite. In order for the hot air to evaporate the water in the bricks, it has to heat up the water. That requires energy, and as energy leaves the air and enters the water, the air cools off. Voila!
Unfortunately, since evaporative cooling adds moisture to the air, the bricks, made by California-based company Emerging Objects, would only be useful in dry regions, not in humid areas like Florida, where the air is already full of water vapor.
I know what you’re thinking — if you’re in the desert, where are you gonna find water for the bricks to soak up? Good question. I never said these Cool Bricks were perfect. I just said they were cool.
Listen, here’s the bottom line: We’re looking for ways to save the planet, and techies are looking for ways to make 3D printing ubiquitous. Maybe we should all grab coffee sometime.