Chinese scientists unveil stretchable fiber inspired by polar bear fur

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-12-27 16:20:45 – China

Scientists at Zhejiang University in China have introduced a durable and stretchable fiber inspired by polar bear fur. This innovative material is not limited to textiles but finds applications in various fields. The research team, led by Associate Professor Gao Weiwei and Professor Bai Hao, turned to nature for inspiration to overcome the limitations of aerogel, known as the world's lightest solid material with exceptional thermal insulation properties.

In their quest for a solution, the team took polar bears as inspiration and aimed to address the weaknesses and processing challenges associated with traditional aerogel. Unlike its typical use in aerospace due to its outstanding thermal properties, conventional aerogel faces difficulties in diverse settings due to its lack of strength, stretchability, and impractical processing for textiles.

This breakthrough in aerogel technology, especially tailored for textiles, resolves the shortcomings of traditional aerogel. Notably, it is machine washable and maintains thermal insulation in various conditions. Beyond its application in fashion, this remarkable material holds promise for a wide range of uses, marking a significant advancement in sustainable materials. The scientists demonstrated its effectiveness by weaving aerogel fiber into pullovers, showcasing its thermal insulation capabilities, which rivaled that of other textile materials but with only one-fifth the thickness.

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