Inspired By Camel Fur, Scientists Develop Material to Keep Things Cool without Electricity

By: | November 16th, 2020

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

We have many technologies inspired by nature. Now inspired by the camels’ furs, MIT researchers have developed a passive cooling system.

Scientists have designed a two-layered material that can keep food and medicine cool for days without the need for electricity.

The researchers suggest that the material could be used in storing and distributing things like pharmaceuticals and perishable goods. Not only that, but it can also be used in the thermal management of buildings and semiconductor devices. 

This technology can prove to be a blessing for the people in developing countries having very low access to electricity. 

Zhengmao Lu, one of the authors of the study explains, “Because this passive cooling approach does not rely on electricity at all, this gives you a good pathway for storage and distribution of those perishable products in general,”

Image courtesy: MIT

Science behind:

The way camels’ furs keep their water storage cool in a scorching desert environment inspired the scientists. Using this concept, scientists developed a cooling system that is made of hydrogel and aerogel composed in two layers.

A layer of a hydrogel is on the bottom and it is covered with a layer of porous silica-based aerogel on top. But the hydrogel is made up of 97 % water. As the gel heats up, water evaporates and results in lowering the gel’s temperature.

Jeffrey Grossman at the MIT said, “Our evaporation-insulation bilayer mimics the camels,”

He added, “We are working on making the materials more scalable to pave the way for wider adoption of this technology,” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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