Stanford scientists have just made a huge discovery that could totally change how clothes are produced.
Researchers may have just stumbled upon something that could have massive implications for the clothing industry, and energy in general. Scientists at Stanford University have found a way to create a brand new material based on cheap plastics that could be woven into clothing and cool your body much more efficiently than standard natural or synthetic clothing.
The scientists found that these fabrics could help cool people down by nearly 4 degrees, which could help buildings with energy savings as they wouldn’t have to crank out as much air conditioning. It would also make clothing a lot more comfortable and pleasant to wear on hot days., according to the study.
The material works by letting perspiration evaporate and also allowing infrared radiation from body heat to pass right through it, something that modern cotton-based clothing isn’t able to do.
“If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live, that will save energy,” said Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford and of photon science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
“Forty to 60 percent of our body heat is dissipated as infrared radiation when we are sitting in an office,” said Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering who specializes in photonics, which is the study of visible and invisible light. “But until now there has been little or no research on designing the thermal radiation characteristics of textiles. … Wearing anything traps some heat and makes the skin warmer. If dissipating thermal radiation were our only concern, then it would be best to wear nothing.”
The hope is to make the material more inexpensive.
“If you want to make a textile, you have to be able to make huge volumes inexpensively,” Cui said.