It may be one of the biggest advancements in clothing in many, many years: researchers at Stanford University have created a textile that could make you feel like you’re not wearing any clothes at all. This new plastics-based textile would prevent your clothing from trapping body heat, and could drop the temperature by nearly four degrees Fahrenheit.
This fabric could be woven into clothing and would work in two ways to keep the temperature low: it would let perspiration evaporate, and it would allow infrared radiation from your body heat to pass through it instead of trapping it around you and raising your body temperature, according to a Stanford statement. That’s the problem with today’s cotton and synthetic fabrics.
Not only would this make clothing that is far more comfortable particularly in hot conditions, but with universal use it could also drastically cut down on energy usage: buildings would have air conditioning systems that wouldn’t have to work as hard to keep everyone cool.
The statement is below:
Stanford engineers have developed a low-cost, plastic-based textile that, if woven into clothing, could cool your body far more efficiently than is possible with the natural or synthetic fabrics in clothes we wear today.
Describing their work in Science, the researchers suggest that this new family of fabrics could become the basis for garments that keep people cool in hot climates without air conditioning.
“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.”