The creators of the project believe that clothes and covers made of smart fabrics that emit heat and reflect light can help people and objects in the sun stay several degrees cooler. The appearance of things with such an effect is expected on the market in a year.
The fabric was developed by a team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan. They called the project "metaphabria" - in it they combined microscopic beads and fibers of titanium oxide and Teflon, as well as polylactic acid. The materials were embedded in larger fibers. Titanium oxide and Teflon reflect ultraviolet and visible light, while polylactic acid fibers emit infrared.
“With this structure, our metafilm achieves near-ideal mid-infrared emissivity and maximizes heat dissipation,” said Guangming Tao, project manager. Details of the work are published in the journal Science.
Scientists have conducted several tests to check how well the fabric will cool people and objects in the heat. In the first experiment, a volunteer put on a vest made of half cotton and half meta fabric. In it, a person was in the sun for an hour. During this time, the temperature of the skin under the metatissue increased from about 31 degrees Celsius to 32, while the temperature under the cotton reached plus 37.
For another test, the researchers took three cars. One of them was covered with meta cloth, the second with a cover bought in a store, and the third was simply left in the sun. In two hours - from 11:00 to 13:00 - the temperature in the first car rose to 30 degrees Celsius, in the second - to 57, in the third - to 60.
The authors of the project noted that for humans, metatissue is most effective in contact with skin. If worn over your regular clothing, less heat will pass through it. Consequently, a significant part of the cooling effect will be lost.
In addition, the development is effective in the shade, although the cooling will not be as noticeable as in the sun. It can also be dyed in different colors, but the most effective will be clothes made of white meta fabric. The scientists added that some clothing manufacturers have already become interested in their project. The team hopes that the cooling cloth items will be available on the market within a year.