New clothing tech to cool like air-conditioning

New clothing tech to cool like air-conditioning

Nanoporous PE (polyethylene) textiles allows human body radiation to pass through clothing unlike normal textile (Source: Carla Schaffer @carlaschaffer)
Nanoporous PE (polyethylene) textiles allows human body radiation to pass through clothing unlike normal textile (Source: Carla Schaffer @carlaschaffer)

An effective & scalable textile for personal thermal management, the new material lets heat body gives off as infrared radiation to pass through.


New clothing tech to cool like air-conditioning

AFP News agency

American researchers at Stanford University have created a low-cost textile made of a plastic base that could cool the body when woven into clothing.

This new material could cool the body and keep people in hot climates cool without using air conditioning.


The engineers suggested in the US journal Science that the textile could become a way to keep people living in hot climates cool without using 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 and of photon science at Stanford.

Scientists blended nanotechnology, photonics and chemistry to develop the material, which cools the wearer in two ways.

(Source: Carla Schaffer @carlaschaffer)


Like cotton, the textile allows sweat to evaporate through the material, but the new development allows it to also let through heat the body gives off as infrared radiation.

The latter is a characteristic of polyethylene (PE), the clear, clingy plastic already used as kitchen wrap.

All objects -- including our bodies -- discharge heat as infrared radiation in the form of invisible light wavelengths.

Clothing traps those wavelengths close to the body, but the new plastic textile lets them through.


 "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.

"But until now there has been little or no research on designing the thermal radiation characteristics of textiles."

To test the cooling capabilities of the experimental material, researchers put swatches of the plastic material and cotton fabric on bare skin and compared skin surface temperature.


"Wearing anything traps some heat and makes the skin warmer," Fan said.

"If dissipating thermal radiation were our only concern, then it would be best to wear nothing."

The cotton fabric made the skin 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the new material, suggesting that wearing the "cooling textile" might make people less likely to resort to turning on fans or air conditioners.

The scientists said they will continue working to add more colors, textures and cloth-like traits to their product.

"If you want to make a textile, you have to be able to make huge volumes inexpensively," Cui said.

Shows how Nanoporous PE (polyethylene) textiles allows human body radiation to pass through clothing unlike normal textile (Source: Science)


To understand the new technology from a scientist's perspective, here is the abstract of the article published in the academic journal Science:

"Thermal management through personal heating and cooling is a strategy by which to expand indoor temperature setpoint range for large energy saving. We show that nanoporous polyethylene (nanoPE) is transparent to mid-infrared human body radiation but opaque to visible light because of the pore size distribution (50 to 1000 nanometers). We processed the material to develop a textile that promotes effective radiative cooling while still having sufficient air permeability, water-wicking rate, and mechanical strength for wearability. We developed a device to simulate skin temperature that shows temperatures 2.7° and 2.0°C lower when covered with nanoPE cloth and with processed nanoPE cloth, respectively, than when covered with cotton. Our processed nanoPE is an effective and scalable textile for personal thermal management" (Source: Science here).

Actual sample of Nanoporous PE (polyethylene) textile as used in the laboratory for testing (Source: Yi Cui Group at Stanford)

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  • abstract: a summary of a research paper put at the beginning -
  • academic journal: a publication that has articles describing research done by researchers and professors at universities -
  • allow: to let somebody/something do something; to let something happen or be done - อนุญาต, ยอมรับ
  • article (noun): a piece of writing about a particular subject in a newspaper or magazine - บทความ
  • associate professor (noun): a teacher at a college or university who has a rank just below the rank of a professor - รองศาสตราจารย์
  • base: the bottom part, edge, or surface of something - พื้นฐาน, รากฐาน
  • blend: to combine or mix with other things in an attractive or effective way - ผสม
  • capability: the ability to do something - ความสามารถ
  • characteristic: a feature or quality that something/somebody has - ลักษณะเฉพาะ
  • climate: the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place - สภาพอากาศ
  • clingy: holding on to something tightly - ติดแน่น
  • close to: near -
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • cool (adjective): not hot, not very cold - เย็น
  • develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา
  • development: a new event or stage that is likely to affect what happens in a continuing situation - ความคืบหน้า
  • device (noun): a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job - อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร
  • discharge: releasing force or power - การปล่อยกระแสไฟฟ้า
  • dissipate: to cause something to gradually stop or disappear - ค่อยๆ น้อยลง
  • distribution: the process of giving out information to many different places - การแจกจ่าย, การกระจาย
  • effective: producing the result that was intended - ได้ผลดี
  • engineer (noun): a person whose job involves designing and building engines, machines, roads, bridges, etc. - วิศวกร
  • evaporate: to cause a liquid to change to a gas - ทำให้กลายเป็นไอ
  • expand: to make or become larger - ขยาย เพิ่ม
  • experimental (adj.): connected with scientific experiments; based on new ideas, forms or methods that are used to find out what effect they have - เป็นการทดลอง, เกี่ยวกับการทดลองทางวิทยาศาสตร์
  • fabric: cloth, especially when it is used for making things such as clothes or curtains - ผ้าหรือสิ่งทอ
  • huge: very large - ใหญ่โต
  • invisible: unable to be seen  - มองไม่เห็น
  • latter: used for referring to the second of two people, things, or groups that have just been mentioned - อันหลัง,ครึ่งหลัง,ส่วนที่สอง
  • management: the act or skill of dealing with people or situations in a successful way - การจัดการ
  • material: a substance that things can be made from - วัตถุ
  • mechanical: involving machinery or equipment that makes something operate, such as an engine -
  • object: a thing that can be seen or touched, but is not alive - วัตถุ, สิ่งของ
  • opaque: cannot see through or inside; not transparent, cannot see what is happening inside -
  • permeability: when things can pass or go through it -
  • personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
  • perspective: a particular way of considering something - ทัศนคติ
  • pore: the holes in the skin that sweat passes through -
  • porous: having many small holes that allow water or air to pass through slowly - ที่มีรูพรุน
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • professor: a university teacher of the highest rank - ศาสตราจารย์
  • promote: to encourage or support something - สนับสนุน
  • publish: to produce a book, magazine, CD-ROM, etc. and sell it to the public - จัดพิมพ์
  • radiation (noun): heat, energy, etc. that is sent out in the form of rays - พลังงานรังสี
  • range: to have an upper and a lower limit in amount, number, etc - ผันแปรภายในขอบเขตหนึ่ง
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • researchers (noun): people who carry out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย
  • resort to: to do something extreme or unpleasant in order to solve a problem - ใช้มาตรการรุนแรงในการแก้ปัญหา ยุติปัญหา
  • respectively: in the order in which they were mentioned - ตามลำดับ
  • scalable (adj.): a system that can be make bigger (higher capacity) in the future if needed -
  • simulate: to do or make something which looks real but is not real - จำลอง
  • strategy: a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time - ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ  
  • sufficient: enough - เพียงพอ
  • suggest: to mention an idea or a plan for somebody else to think about - เสนอ, เสนอแนะ
  • swatches: little pieces of cloth -
  • sweat: the tiny drops of salty water that form on your skin when you are hot - เหงื่อ
  • temperature: a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is - อุณหภูมิ
  • textile: involved in making woven or knitted cloth - สิ่งทอ, ผ้า
  • thermal: relating to or caused by heat - ที่เกี่ยวกับความร้อน
  • trait (noun): a particular quality - คุณสมบัติ, ลักษณะพิเศษ
  • transparent: allowing you to see through it - ที่มองผ่านได้ง่าย
  • trap: to catch or keep something in a place and prevent it from escaping - กับ, กับดัก
  • visible: able to be seen - ที่มองเห็นได้
  • volume (noun): an amount of something - ปริมาณ
  • wavelength: determines color or frequency for radio signals; the length of one cycle of a wave of light or radiation -
  • woven: cloth, a carpet, a basket, etc. made by crossing threads or strips across, over and under each other by hand or on a machine called a loom - ถักทอ
  • wrap: to cover something completely in paper or other material - ห่อ, คลุม
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