New ‘Metafabric’ Can Cool Wearers by Nearly 5°C

By: | August 3rd, 2021

Image courtesy :(Zeng et al., Science, 2021)

The speed at which temperatures are increasing is alarming. The warming climate is also spurring heat waves. Everywhere we are observing changes like vanishing glaciers, melting ice sheets, changing seasons, migrating species, and rising sea levels.

So for helping people cope with harsh heat, Chinese researchers have designed a fabric that reflects light and heat away. They claim that this new fabric can cool the body by nearly 5 degrees Celsius.

The new fabric “metafabric” looks like ordinary T-shirt fabric

But it uses technology that helps it to emit mid-infrared radiation (MIR) to reduce the temperature of the wearer.

According to the researchers, the metafabric is most effective when in contact with the skin. And it can also be dyed in different colors.

In one experiment, researchers made a vest; half of it was made of metafabric and half of cotton. A volunteer was made to sit in direct sunlight for an hour wearing this vest. Researchers found the skin temperature under the metafabric rose from around 31°C to 32°C. However, the skin temperature under the cotton rose to about 37°C.

In another experiment, a researcher covered one car with the metafabric, another with a regular cover, and a third was not covered. They left these cars in the sun from 11 am to 1 pm. The temperature of the uncovered rose to 60°C and 57°C in the car with the standard cover. But the interior temperature of the car with metafabric cover was 30°C.

According to the authors, “These results show the great potential for commercial applications in various complex scenarios, such as smart textiles, sunshade products, logistics transportation,”
“Through embroidery, cutting, and sewing, the metafabric can be integrated into various products for different scenarios, such as clothing, tents, car covers, curtains, and awnings.”

Nidhi Goyal

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

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