University of Maryland: Fabric to automatical...
University of Maryland

Fabric to automatically cool or insulate

University of Maryland

Researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD/USA, have created a fabric that can automatically regulate the amount of heat that passes through it depending on conditions. For example, when conditions are warm and moist, such as those of a sweating body on a summer day, the fabric allows infrared radiation (radiant heat) to pass through. When conditions become cooler and drier, the fabric reduces the heat that escapes. Infrared radiation is a primary way the body releases heat and is the focus of this new technology.

The researchers created the fabric from specially engineered yarn coated with a conductive metal. Under hot, humid conditions, the strands of yarn compact and activate the coating, which changes the way the fabric interacts with infrared radiation to allow more heat. This action is referred to as “gating” of infrared radiation, which acts as a tunable blind to transmit or block heat.
The base yarn for this new textile is created with fibers made of 2 different synthetic materials—one absorbs water and the other repels it. The strands are coated with carbon nanotubes, a special class of lightweight, carbon-based, conductive metal.

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