Science 2 min read

Scientist Develop Personal Cooling Fabric for the Summer

Free-Photos / Pixabay.com

Free-Photos / Pixabay.com

A team of researchers have developed a new personal cooling fabric that efficiently transfers heat from the body to the surrounding environment.

Scientists predict scorching temperatures to last through 2020 summer.

According to reports, almost all of the United States will experience hotter than average temperatures until September. Although home air conditioners can help people deal with the rising temperatures, it might not be the best option.

Currently, 75 percent of homes in the U.S.  have air conditioners. In fact, air conditioners account for 6 percent of all electricity consumption in the country and an annual cost of $29 billion to homeowners.

Besides the financial cost, air conditioners are not exactly good for the planet. According to the Department of Energy, ACs are responsible for roughly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the U.S annually.

As such, it becomes necessary to consider other alternatives. Now, a team of researchers has developed a fabric that keeps the wearer cool without using electricity.

In a published paper in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, the researchers wrote:

“Herein, we develop a facile and scalable methodology to construct highly Thermo conductive breathable superhydrophobic nanofibrous membranes to enhance the thermal management of textiles for personal cooling.”

Here’s how it works.

Developing a New Fabric for Personal Cooling

Yang Si and colleagues wanted to develop a personal cooling fabric that could efficiently transfer heat from the body. Also, such material must be breathable, water repellant, and easy to make.

So, they used a fiber production method called electrospinning to make the nanofibrous membranes. These materials used include:

  • A polymer — Polyurethane
  • A water repellant version of the polymer — Fluorinated polyurethane
  • A thermally conductive filler— Boron nitride nanosheets

The membranes repelled water from the outside. Yet, the pores were also large enough to enable the passage of sweat out of the skin and efficient air circulation.

The researchers coated the polymer nanofibers using boron nitride nanosheet. Thanks to this conductive filler network, heat could quickly move from the inside source to the outside air.

During a test, the researchers noted that the membrane’s thermal conductivity was higher than the conventional materials.

According to Yang Si and colleagues, the fabric’s application extends beyond personal cooling. It’s also useful for solar energy collection, seawater desalination, and thermal management of electronics.

The scientists acknowledged that the research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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