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@ Zeng S et al. A vest made from an ordinary material (left) and smart fabric (right) is cooler on the right-hand side

Guangming Tao at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, and his colleagues developed what they call a “metafabric” by combining microscopic beads and fibres of titanium oxide, Teflon and a plastic called polylactic acid, all embedded within larger fibres.

 

The metafabric is most effective when in contact with the skin. If someone wore a garment made of the metafabric over a thick layer of normal clothing, much of the cooling effect would be lost because less body heat would be conducted to the metafabric and then radiated away.

 

The researchers are focusing on cooling people and objects exposed to direct sunlight, but there would still be a cooling effect in the shade, says Tao. The fabric could be dyed different colours, but white is the most effective for reflecting sunlight.

 

References:

  1. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2283614-smart-fabric-radiates-heat-to-keep-you-cooler-in-the-sun/
  2. Zeng S, Pian S, Su M, et al. Hierarchical-morphology metafabric for scalable passive daytime radiative cooling. Science, 2021; 373(6555): 692-696. DOI: 10.1126/science.abi5484.
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