Dr. Shuang cui

Postdoc Researcher

National Renewable Energy Lab

Shuang Cui is a postdoctoral researcher in Building Energy Science Group at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US) since 2018. Her research focuses on nanoscale energy transport, conversion and storage, smart polymeric material synthesis for thermal regulation of buildings, and thermal measurement technique development for nanomaterials.

Prior to joining NREL, Shuang was a graduate researcher majored in mechanical engineering at University of California, San Diego (US). She worked on design and synthesis of stimuli-responsive and self-healing polymers for water harvesting, desalination, and thermal comfort control of buildings, as well as the thermal measurement of ion or plasma irradiated plasma-facing materials in nuclear fusion reactors.

Shuang Cui is a highly self-motivated researcher, with rich experience in nanofabrication, modeling, and simulation. She is passionate about life and enjoys painting and skiing.

Polymeric Materials for Energy Efficiency and Thermal Comfort Control in Buildings

The development of highly efficient technology for thermal comfort control of buildings attracts considerable interest because Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment account for 40% of the energy consumed in buildings. Bio-inspired highly stretchable and tough double network hydrogels (DN-Gels) was proposed as a durable and reusable ‘sweating skin’ for cooling buildings. These DN-Gels demonstrate outstanding cooling performance, reducing the top roof surface temperature of minimized wooden house models by 25-30°C for up to 7 h after only a single water hydration charge. They also exhibit excellent toughness and cyclability due to their interpenetrated ionically and covalently cross-linked networks, as demonstrated by consistent cooling performance over 50 cycles. Moreover, a thermo-responsive hydrogel composite (TRHC) desiccant was developed for Separate Sensible and Latent Cooling (SSLC) A/C systems. Traditional solid desiccants, such as silica gels, have either low adsorption capacity or high regeneration temperature due to a tradeoff between their adsorption and desorption capability. TRHC desiccants synthesized by freeze-drying copolymers of thermo-responsive hydrogels and hygroscopic polymers have high adsorption capacity and fast desorption at low regeneration temperature. The high adsorption capacity comes from the hygroscopic nature of the polymers. The fast desorption at low temperature with little thermal energy required results from the thermo-responsive hydrogel, which becomes hydrophobic and releases water above its lower critical solution temperature (LCST, ~32°C). By pre-dehumidification of moist air with vapor refrigerants, TRHC desiccants incorporated desiccant cooling leads to a higher coefficient of performance (COP).