Feb 11, 2019 07:44 AM EST
Humans are under the mercy of the environment especially when it comes to temperature. The need to have perfect clothing that fits the environment properly has been a concern for many years. Until now.
University of Maryland researchers discovered a temperature-dependent fabric that can adjust based on the needs of the wearer. The journal Science published this discovery in its February 8, 2019 issue. According to the said journal, the fabric permits heat to pass through during warm and moist conditions. The fabric controls the heat that escapes when there are cooler and drier conditions.
The fabric is made of metal-conductive yarns that compact and activate during heat and humidity. This affects the interaction of tissue with infrared radiation. This mechanism is coined as activation of infrared radiation that controls heat transmission or blocking of heat.
University of Maryland Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry YuHuang Wang said, "This is the first technology that allows us to dynamically control infrared radiation."
The structure of this textile is made of absorbent material and a repelling material. Carbon nanotubes cover these strands. Moisture results in the fibers getting deformed, such as when a body sweats. The threads distort because of the opening of the pores of the fabric that permits the escape of heat. Carbon nanotubes in the coating undergo a modification in their electromagnetic coupling.
"The human body is a perfect radiator. It gives off heat quickly," Professor Min Ouyang emphasized. Ouyang is a physicist at the University of Maryland.
"For all of history, the only way to regulate the radiator has been to take clothes off or put clothes on."
The team of UMD researchers concluded that one-third of the heat radiation was altered when there is a modification in the surrounding humidity.
The fabric is marketable because of the properties of its materials that are similar to others. It can be washed, dyed, and produced like in sportswear.
Other researches were similar to this research. A team from the University of California were also able to develop clothes that can modify the thermal properties of clothing to adapt to the environment and wearer's body. People can be made comfortable by absorbing or blocking heat to and from the body in a broad range of environmental temperatures.
There are three ways in which heat energy can be transferred. Conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction permits energy to pass through the atoms. Convection allows atoms of high energy to move through the environment. Radiation allows the transfer of heat energy as electromagnetic waves. Materials used in clothing control heat by changing the amount of radiation that can escape the body or how to make the circulation of air easier.
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