Now, a fab­ric for all sea­sons It’ll Au­to­mat­i­cally Warm You Up, Or Cool You Down

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES TRENDS -

Wash­ing­ton: Sci­en­tists have cre­ated a fab­ric that can au­to­mat­i­cally reg­u­late the amount of heat that passes through it, help­ing a per­son stay cool or warm de­pend­ing on the weather con­di­tion. When con­di­tions are warm and moist, the fab­ric al­lows heat to pass through. When it’s cool and dry, the fab­ric re­duces the heat that es­capes, re­searchers said.

Re­searchers from Univer­sity of Mary­land cre­ated the fab­ric from spe­cially en­gi­neered yarn coated with a con­duc­tive metal.

This is the first tex­tile shown to be able to reg­u­late heat ex­change with the en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to the study pub­lished in ‘Sci­ence’.

Un­der hot, hu­mid con­di­tions, the strands of yarn com­pact and ac­ti­vate the coat­ing, which changes the way the fab­ric in­ter­acts with in­frared ra­di­a­tion. They re­fer to this as “gat­ing” of in­frared ra­di­a­tion, which acts as a tun­able blind to trans­mit or block heat.

“This is the first tech­nol­ogy that al­lows us to dy­nam­i­cally gate in­frared rays,” said YuHuang Wang, a pro­fes­sor at Mary­land.

The base yarn for this new tex­tile is cre­ated with fi­bres made of two dif­fer­ent syn­thetic ma­te­ri­als — one ab­sorbs wa­ter and the other re­pels it. The strands are coated with car­bon nan­otubes, a spe­cial class of light­weight, car­bon­based, con­duc­tive metal. Since ma­te­ri­als in the fi­bres both re­sist and ab­sorb wa­ter, the fi­bres warp when ex­posed to hu­mid­ity such as that sur­round­ing a sweat­ing body.

That dis­tor­tion brings the strands of yarn closer to­gether, which opens the pores in the fab­ric. This has a small cool­ing ef­fect as it al­lows heat to es­cape.

De­pend­ing on the tun­ing, the fab­ric ei­ther blocks in­frared ra­di­a­tion or al­lows it to pass through. The re­ac­tion is al­most in­stant, so be­fore peo­ple re­alise they’re get­ting hot, the gar­ment could al­ready be cool­ing them down. On the flip side, as a body cools down, the mech­a­nism works re­verse to trap heat. “The hu­man body is a per­fect ra­di­a­tor. It gives off heat quickly,” said Min Ouyang, an­other pro­fes­sor at the univer­sity.


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