Sep 16, 2016
Scientists create plastic fabric that keeps people cool
Sep 16, 2016
Scientists have successfully invented the new nanoporous polyethylene (nanoPE) fabric that can keep people cool during summers. The fabric made of the material used in plastic wraps can block sun’s rays and allow sweat to evaporate through it. It is a more efficient option than fabrics like cotton, and effective for personal thermal management.
The nanoPE fabric is invented by a team of scientists led by Stanford researcher Yi Cui. In their paper published in Science journal, the scientists said that they processed the material to develop a textile that promotes effective cooling while having sufficient air permeability, water wicking rate and mechanical strength for wearability.
Polyethylene’s opaque form that is capable of venting infrared radiations was treated to make it permeable for facilitating sweat evaporation. The scientists then sandwiched cotton mesh between two layers of PDA-nanoPE to perform several tests for common textile properties. They found that the nanoPE sample has a water vapour transmission rate that is higher than cotton, making it easy for body sweat to evaporate through it.
A device imitating human skin was developed by them to stimulate skin temperature. It was found that when the device was covered with nanoPE cloth it raised its temperature by 0.8°C, while cotton stimulated it by 3.5°C. The processed nanoPE cloth stimulated the device by a temperature that is 2°C lower than that of cotton, performing better than a type of fibrous PE textile that raised it by 2.9°C.
This new fabric can help reduce energy demands in the future by keeping people cool, thus decreasing their dependence on air conditioners.
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