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
Coronavirus tests performed in labs are the gold standard for accuracy and antigen tests are a fast and inexpensive alternative. But backers of a third type of test, developed by a Nobel Prize winner [...]
COVID-19 is a severe infectious disease that has claimed >150,000 lives and infected millions in the United States thus far, especially the elderly population. Emerging evidence has shown the virus to cause hemorrhagic and immunologic [...]
Switzerland’s Covid-19 scientific taskforce chief says hospitals across the Alpine country could be swamped with new coronavirus cases in the next two or three weeks unless the situation improves. “We estimate that the capacity limit [...]
Scientists are to increase surveillance for new coronavirus mutations amid concerns that future strains of the virus could develop at least partial resistance to antibody treatments and Covid-19 vaccines. There is no evidence that the [...]
From the moment you turn off your morning alarm, to the time you hit the pillow, your life is full of surfaces. Swiping through your phone, opening doors, putting in your PIN – there are [...]
A new report suggests that lingering “brain fog” and other neurological symptoms after COVID -19 recovery may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an effect observed in past human coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS [...]
ClSARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can relieve pain, according to a new study by University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers. The finding may explain why nearly half of people who get COVID-19 [...]
Contrary to president Donald Trump’s repeated declarations, the coronavirus pandemic was not — and still isn’t — totally under control. That lie is central to “Totally Under Control,” the [...]
Summary: A new study suggests COVID-19 may deplete testosterone levels in males. Findings reveal as testosterone decreased, the severity of coronavirus increased. Men who died from coronavirus infection had significantly lower mean testosterone than those [...]
It is the question scientists around the world are trying to answer: how long can the coronavirus survive in the tiny aerosol particles we exhale? In a high-security lab near Bristol, entered through a series [...]
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, researchers are working overtime to develop vaccines and therapies to thwart SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease Many efforts focus on the coronavirus spike protein, which binds the [...]
A research team in Hungary pinched the coronavirus with a fine needle to measure how much force it could take before popping like a balloon. It did not. The native virion of Sars-CoV-2 – a [...]
Headaches, confusion and delirium experienced by some Covid-19 patients could be the result of the coronavirus directly invading the brain, according to a study published Wednesday. The research is still preliminary – but offers several [...]
By Boris M | Published in Coronavirus During the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a lot of information about the virus and its effects on mental health. That’s because coronavirus and the social, financial and psychological [...]
A serious illness suffered by an Oxford University coronavirus vaccine trial participant was most likely “life-threatening”, a bioethics researcher says. But that doesn’t mean the clinical trials will be scrapped. AstraZeneca and Oxford University [...]