The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute developed smart adaptive clothing that can reduce your body temperature in hot climates. They have accomplished this by harnessing the various thermal properties and graphene versatility.
The technology also opens the door to new applications including interactive infrared displays and covert infrared communication on textiles.
Manchester’s National Graphene Institute Smart Fabric
Scientists developed a prototype garment to demonstrate dynamic thermal radiation control within a piece of clothing by utilising the remarkable thermal properties and flexibility of graphene.
This research built on the early research of the same teams using graphene to create thermal camouflage capable of cooling infrared cameras. However, the new fabric has one main advantage: it can be incorporated into existing textile fabrics such as cotton, which are produced through mass processing.
The human body radiates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves in the infrared spectrum known as blackbody radiation. In a hot climate, it is desirable to make use the full extent of the infrared radiation to lower the body temperature which can be achieved by using infrared-transparent textiles.
Alternatively, infrared-blocking covers are ideal for reducing the body’s energy loss. Emergency blankets are a common example used to treat extreme cases of fluctuating body temperatures.
“The next step for this area of research is to address the need for dynamic thermal management of earth-orbiting satellites. Satellites in orbit experience excesses of temperature, when they face the sun, and they freeze in the earth’s shadow.
Our technology could enable dynamic thermal management of satellites by controlling the thermal radiation and regulate the satellite temperature on demand.”said Kocabas.
The paper, ‘Graphene-enabled adaptive infrared textiles‘ by Kocabas et al is published in Nano Letters.