Smart Clothes

Too hot! Too cold! Just right…?! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Just like the Three Bears, I love a brisk walk on a chilly morning! But when I start to sweat – off comes my jacket! Brrr, now it’s TOO cold! Where’s the JUST RIGHT?

Xiuqiang Li and colleagues from Duke University sussed out the sweet spot for heat retention and ventilation.

They designed a rectangular test flap using a nylon base layer. To keep heat in, they added a super thin layer of silver. How thin?? 2,000 times thinner than paper! They put it in a chamber and cranked up the humidity.

Results? The more humidity, the more the flaps opened ON THEIR OWN! And when worn by a human being – the flaps still showed dynamic movement! They responded to the humidity produced by the person’s sweat.

The super nylon-silver-flap combo is truly SMART. The researchers think this smart jacket will keep us at the perfect temperature. 

Great news for Papa Bears, Mama Bears and Baby Bears! Goldilocks? Get your own!

Reference: Li, X.Q., Ma, B.R., Dai J.Y., et al. (2021). Metalized polyamide heterostructure as a moisture-responsive actuator for multimodal adaptive personal heat management. Science Advances, 7(51).

Photo credits: Chenxi Sui, Duke University (from referenced article)