This new fabric, developed by YuHuang Wang and Ouyang Min at the University of Maryland, will naturally adjust the temperature of your body to a comfortable state when you feel too hot or too cold.
A similar fabric was developed by a team at Stanford, back in 2017, but you had to manually wear the garment inside out for it to work.
The anonymous textile is the first-of-its-kind, as it automatically warms up or cools down the wearers, as necessary. When you’re feeling hot and sweaty, say when playing sports, the fabric lets infrared radiation pass through. And when you’re cold and dry, it traps the heat in.
It was created using specially-engineered yarn made of fibers of two different synthetic materials: one that absorbs water and one that repels it. The strands are coated with carbon nanotubes. Each fiber expands or contracts when the temperature changes.When you’re sweating, the strands twist and warp, which tightens up the fabric. This process activates the layer of carbon nanotubes, allowing the heat to pass through, in a mechanism similar to that of the body’s pores. When you are feeling too cold, the layer of carbon nanotubes is blocked, locking in the heat next to your skin, keeping you warm. In short, the material responds to the body’s two opposing states — heat and wetness — enabling us to stay at a comfortable temperature at all times. A report of the research was published in the popular science journal Science Today.
“It recognises the way your body changes heat in different environments. It’s like an antenna picking up changes in temperature and moisture”, says YuHuang wang. Wang estimates the fabric could be in mass production within months. One key factor that might make it more likely are specific features of the material — it can be dyed, knitted, and washed like a regular fabric used for daily use — the designers are hoping that these qualities should make it a comfortable option for the average consumer. They also believe that athletes will be the first group of consumers to recognise its valuable functionality. The question of ‘who next’ remains to be answered by time. - IANS