First Ever Fabric to Automatically Cool or Heat Invented

12 Février, 2019, 04:25 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • First Ever Fabric to Automatically Cool or Heat Invented

For the first time, American scientists created the first fabric that keeps you cool or warms you up, depending on environmental conditions. This has a small cooling effect because it allows heat to escape.

The fabric is embedded with a new nanotechnology, which has been engineered to interact with infrared radiation with a wavelength of ten micrometres, otherwise known as body-heat.

In cooler, drier conditions, the fabric traps more infrared heat, resulting in the wearer staying warmer.

The base yarn for the new infrared-adaptive textile is created with fibers made of two different synthetic materials - one absorbs water and the other repels it.

The yarn that makes up this auto-regulating fabric can be woven, washed, and dyed much like other performance fabrics. The strands are coated with carbon nanotubes, which is a special lightweight, carbon-based, conductive metal.

Scientists have knitted the fabric into a piece of material nearly five square feet in size.

"In clothing, that means the fabric interacts with the heat radiating from the human body", he added. "It's a very simplified way to think of it, but imagine bringing two antennae close together to regulate the kind of electromagnetic wave they pick up". When the fibers come together, the electromagnetic coupling of the carbon nanotubes also changes.

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"This is the first technology that allows us to dynamically gate [regulate] infrared radiation", said YuHuang Wang, a UMD professor of chemistry and biochemistry and one of the paper's corresponding authors. The journal Science published this discovery in their 8 Feb' 2019 issue.

"When the fibres are brought closer together, the radiation they interact with changes". Under hot and humid conditions, when the yarn is hot or wet, it collapses into a tight bundle, effectively opening gaps in the cloth to expel heat. The paper's corresponding author Min Ouyang described the futuristic fabric as "a true bidirectional regulator".

However, when cold is present, the opposite reaction occurs allowing the infrared radiation to go through. Resultantly, before the person realize the warmth of surrounding, the material would be cooling it down already. On the other side, the gating mechanism works in reverse to get warm.

"This pioneering work provides an exciting new switchable characteristic for comfort-adjusting clothing", said Ray Baughman, a professor of chemistry at the University of Texas who was not engaged with the investigation.

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year.

This work was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, as part of its "Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA)" program (Award No. DE-AR0000527).

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