Even after night falls, a slab of concrete or asphalt might still feel warm to the touch. The surface has stored up heat after a long day of sitting out in the sun, and is slowly letting it go. It's something that happens naturally all over the world, but what if there were a way to control the process?
In a study published recently in Nature Communications scientists at the University of Tokyo announced that they had created a material that could store up heat and then release it on command, with just a little bit of pressure applied.
The material is a ceramic, but not the kind you'd use in pottery class. It's called stripe-type-lambda-trititanium-pentoxide and is made of titanium and oxygen. This new ceramic can store up heat energy over the course of a day, and then release it when needed.