Who needs AC when you have clothing? That is, when the clothing comes from Stanford. A team of scientists at the esteemed California university have developed a textile derived from plant material that is reported to “cool your body far more efficiently than is possible with the natural or synthetic fabrics in clothes we wear today.” In a summary of its work in Science Magazine, the research team led by Professor Yi Cui claim that this new textile could be the answer to keeping cool for those living in hot climates without access to modern air conditioning.
“If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live, that will save energy,” said Cui. The secret comes in a combination of nanotechnology, photonics, and chemistry, which ultimately helps the human body expel heat more efficiently than any other fabric currently on the market. In fact, wearing clothes with this new textile can help keep the wearer 4 degrees cooler — and not only does this revolutionary material help with sweat evaporation, but it also allows “heat that the body emits as infrared radiation to pass through the plastic textile,” Stanford News reports.
“40 to 60 percent of our body heat is dissipated as infrared radiation when we are sitting,” said Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. “But until now there has been little or no research on designing the thermal radiation characteristics of textiles.”
And with concerns about rising global temperatures, it’s about time someone conducted this research.
While this new textile isn’t quite as good as going about your day in the nude, it gets pretty close. “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.”
But given societal norms and general consideration for our neighbors, we have to turn to the next best thing, which looks to be this new textile.