Researchers have finally found a way to gate infrared radiation in textile materials. For the first time fabric is made to regulate the temperature – allow or trap heat – depending on how hot or cold the weather condition is.
Before now, lots of textile materials that can trap heat and others that can also release heat have been produced.
The Self-cleaning dress: a dress that repels dirt, with the ability the resist water and other liquid spills, even better than the back of a duck, was a marvel.
But for the first time, researchers have created a kind of textile material that can make you feel warm when it gets cold and release heat when it becomes hot.
According to sciencemag.org, the researchers made this fabric from yarn, specially engineered and coated with a conductive metal. As shown in the video below, the strands of this specially engineered yarn compacts to activate the conductive metallic coating during hot and humid – as result of sweat – conditions. This activity from the fabric immediately changes the way it interacts with infrared radiation.
The textile material is made with two kinds of fibres, one that absorbs water and another which is more comfortable doing the opposite. Because of this difference in the nature of the fibres, a distortion is created when the individual sweats. (Surely it must be hot out there.)
Since just one of these interwoven fibres absorb water (in this case the sweat from the human body), this creates a distortion which opens up pores. The pores allow heat to escape, creating a cooling effect in the process. Moreover, it also results in evaporation which is well known to create a cooling effect also.
Sciencemag also reports that the strands of fibre have been coated with Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs). This really makes sense because based on a research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, CNTs are arguably the best conductors of heat. Its ability to stretch (or expand) seamlessly when coated on materials also makes it a really good part of this autonomous temperature regulating textile material.
We have seen autonomous window blinds, robots waitresses and now we are about to witness autonomous textile go mainstream. Until then, we are yet to discover if this form of textile materials can successfully replace sweaters. Also, how long they will last once you start dry-cleaning them.