Clothes Made From This Super Material Will Help You To Beat The Heat Like Never Before!
Nobody likes the sweaty summers, especially the scorching heat and the clammy clothes sticking to their bodies. You wish you had clothes, which were airier, and can get rid of the perspiration. Well, it seems that your wish has been granted! The engineers from Stanford University have invented a plastic-based material, which is known to cool down clothes.
How was this super material created?
A team of material scientists led by Po-Chin Hsu has developed this super material. The team implemented the principles of chemistry, photonics, and nanotechnology to create a polyethylene, which had characteristics of a clothing material, such as a passage of air, thermal radiation, water evaporation and being opaque to visible light.
One more important feature was the passage of infrared radiation through it, which happens in the food wrap material used in the kitchen. But, this is not suitable for making clothes because it is impervious to water and for its see-through nature.
Hence, they came up with an alternative of polyethylene, which is used in battery production. It has a specific nanostructure, which is transparent to infrared radiation and opaque to visible light. This type of base material for clothes will allow the body heat to escape, hence keeping us cool. Then, they treated this with chemicals to facilitate the water evaporation process, giving the plastic its breathability (the ability of a fabric to allow moisture vapours to be transmitted through the material) like a natural fabric.
How can this material be used in clothing?
Initially, the engineers developed a single sheet material, which is the basic requirement of a cooling textile. Then, they made a three-layer material with a cotton mesh clubbed into between two sheets of polyethylene. This gave thickness and strength, and the look and feel of a real fabric. This can be used to make any apparel from T-shirts to trousers.
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When tested against a normal fabric like cotton, it was found that wearer felt nearly 4 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than any other normal fabric. This allows around 96% of infrared radiation to travel through it without any hindrance.
Human bodies emit a certain amount of heat, which is invisible. When we wear clothes or take a blanket, this heat gets trapped and we feel warm. So, if this heat is allowed to dissipate, then it will be very comfortable to wear, especially during the summers. This material does just that and it was indicated that people wearing clothes from this material might use less of fan and air conditioners. The inventors claim that the material is so comfortable and cool that the wearer will feel that there is nothing on their skin. However, work is still required for certain aspects.
If the material proves to be successful as a clothing fabric, then it can also be used for tents, buildings, and vehicles, for better air circulation and more ventilation. The research might take up to a year to complete, and then customers will have to wait a few more years for the actual products to hit the markets.
Currently, only beige colour is available, mostly because of its plastic base. When we dye normal fabric in colour, it changes the molecular structure and its properties. So, if we do this to this material, it might lose its efficiency to disperse infrared radiation. One more thing is its crinkly feel, which is more like plastic, whereas fabrics like cotton are soft and flexible.
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This is just the beginning and the team is working on adding more cloth-like characteristics to the material, including colour and textures. This material is also low-cost, so using it for apparel won’t make the end product costly either. This will be very helpful for people in tropical countries, where the weather is hot and humid.
So, if want to look ‘cool’ as well as feel ‘cool’, then you definitely need to beat the heat with this super material.
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