Researchers Develop Textile That Adapts to External Temperature
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use the same clothes for summer and winter? No need to dig seasonal clothes out of the attic or basement, or plan ahead for the weather even. That dream might someday be a reality thanks to a development published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
According to Science Daily, researchers believe they’ve developed a textile garment that could adapt to temperature, cooling the wearer in the summer and warming them up in the winter. It could also help them potentially save some money on their air conditioning bill.
There are plenty of other textiles that can adapt to temperature, but what makes this stand out is that it goes both ways—heating or cooling, depending on the external factors.
The researchers created the fabric by freeze-spinning chitosan, a material that comes from the outer skeleton of shellfish. They then filled the pores in the structures with polethylene glycol (PEG), which absorbs and releases thermal energy. Finally, the threads were coated in polydimethylsiloxane to keep the PEG from leaking out. This also made them sturdy and water-repellant.
It sort of sounds like the perfect garment on paper.
To test it, they gave a person a glove made from the material in a hot chamber at 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The PEG woven into the glove absorbed the heat and melted into a liquid to cool the skin. Conversely, they put the gloved hand into a 50 degree chamber, and the PEG solidified, releasing heat.
Researchers are confident that the manufacturing process lends itself to mass production if apparel manufacturers choose to implement it into their products. While the road to this becoming a feature in apparel is likely a long one, this could be a major development for layering products, workwear and more in the futre.