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Mosquito proof fabric

Researchers at Auburn University in the US developed a new type of fabric that blocks mosquito bites.

Most bite-resistant clothing currently on the market is either impregnated with pesticides or made with thick, non-breathable fabrics that are hot to wear, and unfortunately still easy for mosquitos to overcome. Normal clothing can’t block bites, as it is made often of woven fabrics, which leaves holes, however small, which are still larger than the mosquito’s proboscis.

Designing real mosquito proof fabric is a challenge, as its breathability is determined by holes. So the trick is to leave holes in the fabric, but seal them of from microscopic mosquito moth parts.

The new fabric, made of a blend of Spandex and polyester, though other materials are also possible, was designed on a CNC (computer numerical control) knitting machine, which can produce textiles at a very fine level of resolution. In comparison to traditional weaving, these so-called “weft-knitting” machines build textiles by interconnecting loops of yarn in a horizontal fashion. The result is multiple interconnected layers within a single seamless fabric, and the process is often referred to as “3D knitting.” With the added ability to use multiple types of yarn, CNC machines allow the fabrication of a much greater range of textile types and provide many more options of structural geometry.

The new fabric is still quite thick and not very cool, but it does block bugs through its unique knitting pattern, using a geometric structure that prevents mosquitoes from accessing skin. The aim is to develop the fabric further and then create a clothing line.

Photo: University of Auburn