Temperature regulated smart clothes that keeps you cool

Responsive fabric for the perfect all-weather wardrobe

Responsive fabric for the perfect all-weather wardrobe

Researchers with the University of Maryland have created a smart fabric that can automatically adjust its thermal properties to keep the wearer warm or cool based on the present conditions.

Although, in recent decades, there have been several innovations in fabrics in order to obtain improved thermal properties, e.g. allowing a marathon runner to cool down or keeping a climber warm, there has never been a fabric that changes on its own, responding to the changing weather conditions. When conditions are warm and moist, such as those near a sweating body, the fabric allows infrared radiation (heat) to pass through.

The researchers created this fabric from specially organized yarn that coated with the conductive metal.

Scientists have said that the new fabric needs more work before it is commercially exploited, but all of its materials are already available on the market, and even its production will not face technical difficulties. The strands are coated with carbon nanotubes, which is a special lightweight, carbon-based, conductive metal.

Scientists discovered a fabric from synthetic material initiated by humidity and temperature.

The human body absorbs and sheds much of its heat in the form of infrared radiation. "It's a very simplified way to think of it but imagine bringing two antennae to close together to regulate the kind of electromagnetic wave they pick up".

It also modifies the electromagnetic coupling between the carbon nanotubes in the coating, researchers said.

"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 development was reported in the February 8, 2019 issue of the journal Science. "It gives off heat quickly", said Min Ouyang, a professor of physics at UMD and the paper's other corresponding author. When conditions are hot and humid, this technology causes the strands in the fabric to come closer together, pulling open the fabric's pores so that more heat can escape.

This fabric either block or allow the infrared radiations to pass through, according to the tuning. The garment cools people down before they realize that they are getting hot.

“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 involved in the study.

More work is required before the fabric can be commercialized, however as indicated by the analysts, materials utilized for the base fiber are promptly accessible and the carbon coating can be effectively included amid standard dying process.