The clothes we wear during winter are way different from the ones that we wear during summer. However, this might change in the future. Researchers from the University of Maryland are developing a fabric that should maintain the optimal temperature at all times.
Think about this. You will be able to wear a shirt that keeps you cool during extreme heat, but it will maintain you warm once you enter a room where the AC is turned on. Such an item of clothing could come useful in numerous situations.
How does the fabric work?
In order to maintain the right body temperature, the fabric is able to release or trap heat, based on our needs. This means that our temperature stays the same all around the year. For this to be achieved, scientists used fibers made out of two synthetic materials in order to produce the yarn. One of them repels water, while the other one absorbs it. More than that, conductive carbon nanotubes are used to coat the strands.
“Just like an automated window blind, our fabric can adaptively regulate thermal radiation in response to your personal comfort,” YuHuang Wang, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, explained. “We achieve this new functionality by engineering the fabric at the fiber level, making it a ‘switchable’ or dynamically responsive system.”
Therefore, when there is humidity, such as sweat, the fabric’s pores will open up, which will cool down the person wearing the item of clothing. If the temperature of the body goes down too much, the fabric will begin trapping in heat in order to warm it up.
“Our fabric features self-powered, autonomous thermoregulation,” Wang added. “We think these unique features will be particularly attractive for runners, infants, and field workers, for example.”
Nora Reynolds is a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior, writing about science in general. She also likes to try new gadgets and sports about the AI new era.