New fabric ensures you’re never too hot or cold
Researchers at the University of Maryland engineered a new type of fabric that reacts to your body temperature and humidity levels to ensure you’re never too hot or too cold, but just right.
The fabric is made from specially engineered yarn, created with fibres made from two different synthetic materials, one that absorbs water and one that repels it. The fibres are coated with carbon nanotubes, and they each expand or contract based on temperature changes.
When the material gets hot and wet, in response to you sweating, for example, the strands tighten up, activating the nanotube coating. Like the body’s pores, the fabric lets the heat pass through. The other way around, though, when your body is too cold, the mechanism is reversed and closes up, trapping your body heat inside.
The researchers think the material, which feels like normal fabric, could be used for athletes, but also for infants, people with disabilities, older people, and anyone else requiring constant attention to ensure comfort. The yarn can be knitted, dyed, and washed like any other fabric, so it offers a lot of design freedom.
Photos: Faye Levine/University of Maryland