Sometimes it is too cold for us and then too warm again – annoying dressing-undressing of sweaters and co. Is therefore required. However, that may change: researchers have developed a sophisticated textile that can independently adapt its thermal properties to how hot, sweaty or cold the wearer is: the innovative fabric warms or cools as needed.
The human organism is like a radiator – we radiate heat. How much infrared radiation we emit into the environment can be regulated by clothing. In this context, material researchers have always developed sophisticated textiles in recent years. However, they can usually only be either or: Some materials insulate extremely well, thereby keeping the body warm. Others, on the other hand, can give off intense heat radiation to cool. A textile that can dynamically move from one function to another has not existed so far, say researchers around Yu Huang Wang of the University of Maryland at College Park. However, this ability should now possess their newly developed material.
Refined fibers with nano-coating
They report that the innovative fabric is made from specially assembled fibers coated with carbon nanotubes. The carrier material is composed of two different polymer materials which react in a contrary manner to moisture and heat with deformation. The dynamic properties of the material are based on this effect, explain the scientists: In moisture or heat, the fibers warp and thus change the structure of the material.
This process opens pores in the fabric that allow heat to escape, the researchers say. But the real highlight is the second effect: The structural change causes an electromagnetic coupling between the carbon nanotubes in the coating. This then leads to increased heat radiation of the material. In sweaty conditions, it thus ensures cooling. On the other hand, if the fabric is cold or dry, the opposite effect occurs: the pores close and the change in the electromagnetic coupling between the carbon nanotubes reduces the heat radiation. This gives the fabric an insulating effect.
“In simple terms, the concept is similar to the effects of radio antennas,” says Wang, “bending two antennas closer together changes their response to electromagnetic waves. The fibers in our material are similar: depending on how close or far they are brought together, their response to infrared radiation changes, “Wang said. At the level of the whole fabric this means that the material can emit more or less heat according to the conditions and thus keep the body warm or cool.
Literally cool clothes in planning
Concretely, the previous test results showed that the infrared-adapive material can change its heat radiation by more than 35 percent. As the researchers report, the fabric also appears to be well suited for use as a textile material with regard to further properties: the basic substances for producing the fibers are readily available and the carbon coating can be applied without problems. In addition, the fabric can be dyed and washed, the developers say.
Nevertheless, the substance has yet to be further optimized and tested until it can be incorporated into products, the scientists emphasize. However, they are confident that some day clothes will be based on their concept: “I find it very exciting to be able to use the material for the development of fabrics that can improve the functionality of garments and other fabrics,” says Co-author Min Ouyang.
Image Credit: Faye Levine, University of Maryland
Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen. Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen
News This Week
“The most crucial result of this work is the correlation between form and function in supercapacitor materials,” states first author Dina Ibrahim Abouelamaiem. She elaborates that “our research is driven by the need for [...]
“We’ll have nanobots that… connect our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud. Our thinking will be a…. biological and non-biological hybrid.” Ray Kurzweil, TED 2014 UPDATE - June 18 2019 Since [...]
A new study by the Environmental Working Group reveals that: “Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing [...]
A nanotechnology treatment derived from bone marrow stem cells has reversed multiple sclerosis symptoms in mice and could eventually be used to help humans, according to a new study led by University of California, [...]
In a paper published this week in Nature ("Freestanding crystalline oxide perovskites down to the monolayer limit"), materials science researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions unveil a new process for [...]
New research provides insight into the structure of silicon nanocrystals, a substance that promises to provide efficient lithium ion batteries that power your phone to medical imaging on the nanoscale. The research was conducted [...]
Several space missions, planned by both the European Space Agency and NASA, have their target set on Jupiter and its moons. The extraordinarily harsh radiation environments in the Jovian system will set some strict [...]
rance is clamping down on a common food additive that has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies. The ban of titanium dioxide, announced by the French government last month, follows a review [...]
Today’s societies critically depend on electronic systems. Past spectacular cyber-attacks have clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of existing systems and the need to prevent such attacks in the future. The majority of available cyber-defenses concentrate [...]
Researchers of the Nanoscience Center (NSC) at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and in the Xiamen University, China, have discovered how copper particles at the nanometre scale operate in modifying a carbon–oxygen bond when [...]
Cells in the body are wired like computer chips to direct signals that instruct how they function, research suggests (Nature Communications, “The cell-wide web coordinates cellular processes by directing site-specific Ca2+ flux across cytoplasmic [...]
We may be able to detect cancer soon by simply peeing on a stick. - Cancer is an aberrant function of a normal cell, where the regulators of that cell's dividing are broken [...]
Microcontaminants place a considerable burden on our water courses, but removing them from wastewater requires considerable technical resources. Now, ETH researchers have developed an approach that allows the efficient removal of these problematic [...]