New low cost plastic clothing textile created could keep body cool

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2016-09-02 14:00:00 – Washington

New clothing textile created by American researchers which could become a way to keep people living in hot climates cool without making use of air condition. This low-cost textile made of a plastic base when woven into clothing that could cool the body.

Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and of photon science at Stanford said that this clothing can cool the person which in turn will help save energy used to operate air conditioners or fan.

Scientists has blended nanotechnology, photonics and chemistry to develop the material, which cools the wearer in two ways. Like cotton, the textile allows sweat to evaporate through the material, but the new development allows it to also let through heat the body gives off as infrared radiation.

The latter is a characteristic of polyethylene, the clear, clingy plastic already used as kitchen wrap.

All objects including human body discharge heat as infrared radiation in the form of invisible light wavelengths. Clothing traps those wavelengths close to the body, but the new plastic textile lets them through.

According to Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering, forty to 60 percent of human body heat is dissipated as infrared radiation when they are sitting in an office. But until now there has been little or no research on designing the thermal radiation characteristics of textiles.

To test the cooling capabilities of the experimental material, researchers put swatches of the plastic material and cotton fabric on bare skin and compared skin surface temperature.

Wearing anything traps some heat and makes the skin warmer, Fan said. If dissipating thermal radiation were their only concern, then it would be best to wear nothing.

The cotton fabric made the skin 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the new material, suggesting that wearing the "cooling textile" might make people less likely to resort to turning on fans or air conditioners.

The scientists said that they will continue working to add more colors, textures and cloth-like traits on this new plastic clothing textile.

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