Next-generation self-cooling fabric to design clothes of the FUTURE!!
Have you ever been out and about, and then suddenly felt too hot? In the summer, this can be quite irritating, especially if you’re carrying stuff. Therefore, most people would just take off a layer to help them cool down. But what if there wasn’t any need to do that at all? What if your clothes could automatically heat or cool you down whenever you need it? That would be… pretty awesome. In fact, it might sound more like science fiction than anything else. But that’s what we’ll be talking about in this post. We’ll be looking at a new self-cooling fabric that can do exactly that. Let’s get down and discuss this in more detail!
Designing the new fabric
A team at the University of Maryland took on this project. As futuristic as it sounds, the aims are quite simple. They set out to create a heat-regulating clothing material. More specifically, a self-cooling fabric with ‘thermostat’ properties. If the wearer is becoming too hot, the fabric would immediately cool them down. On the other hand, it can also warm the person up if they’re becoming cold. To create this material, researchers began by using wool from sports clothing. This would form the base-layer upon which they would design the self-cooling fabric. They then used carbon nanotubes to layer the wool all around. Beneath the carbon nanotube coating is another fabric. This one is sensitive to the production of body heat and sweat.
How it works
When a person is becoming hot, their body temperature rises. In some instances, they might even start to sweat. This leads to a contraction of the surrounding nanotube fibres. As a result, body heat is able to escape through the material. On top of this, the process also creates an electric charge which further repels heat. This allows the person to cool down even faster. However, if the person starts to feel cold, the opposite happens. The nanotube fibres loosen up and expand. This traps body heat close to the person’s skin, making them warm up. According to reviews, this self-cooling fabric works at light speed. It will start cooling you down before you start to feel hot.
Now, there have been previous attempts to create a self-cooling fabric. However, they all require some form of external power supply. In contrast, this is the FIRST self-cooling fabric with such inherent properties. It doesn’t need a battery system to operate. In fact, you can throw it in the washing machine along with your other clothes! Even better still, you won’t struggle to purchase it. You’ll only pay about £5 more than you would for a regular outfit (eg jumper). I think that’s probably the most incredible part really.
The benefits it will bring us all
A self-cooling fabric like this definitely has outstanding potential. Not just economically, but in terms of customer value. The main aim is to create clothes that can keep a person comfortable all the time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold, the person always feels great. This would be very useful for people who live in hot countries. On the other hand, people who live in cold countries can also benefit from it. When they refine and develop it, the material could be used commercially.
People wearing clothes made from it would never need to take their jumpers off. They would also testify that they’re wearing the most comfortable clothes ever! But apart from this, it can also be of use to people who work in extreme environments. Just think soldiers, crisis responders, firemen etc. In fact, anyone who has to perform under stress would find it useful. Not just now, but all season and all year round.
This sounds perfect so far, but there are two potential drawbacks. If it proves to be highly effective, there’ll be no need to buy jumpers and coats. Or at least, they wouldn’t be nearly as important as they are today. They would just cease to be in demand because people won’t see much use in buying them. The only exception is during the extreme cold season. As a result, clothing manufacturers might experience a crash in sales. This isn’t a prophecy from me, but more of a speculation. To be honest, this is actually a bit futuristic. So, it would take a long while before we see that happening. That’s if it ever gets to that stage.
The second drawback is for companies who supply heating services. There’s a basic principle behind heating a building or even using air-conditioning. That is to make the room temperature suitable for people indoors. Now, if you’re wearing clothes that can regulate your own body temperature, why bother with the heating? Would there even be much use for air-conditioning? To be honest, that would actually help consumers save a lot of money. But it certainly won’t be good for energy suppliers.
Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to upgrade and improve clothing materials. A self-cooling fabric of this kind would completely redefine the capabilities of clothing design. Now whilst it will have great commercial value, it could devalue the services of other businesses. But if people love it and it’s in high demand, nothing can hold it back. After all, business success is linked to customer satisfaction. Did you enjoy this article? Drop us your thoughts down below.