Tiny pore-pocked plastic lets heat out yet blocks light
YI CUI GROUP/STANFORD UNIVERSITY (NanoPE); JAMES LOOMIS/ UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND (polyester, cotton)
Plastic cling wrap with nano-sized pores could give “cool clothes” a new meaning.
The material lets heat escape, instead of trapping it like traditional fabrics, Stanford University materials scientist Yi Cui and colleagues report in the Sept. 2 Science. It could help people keep cool in hot weather, Cui says, and even save energy by reducing the use of air conditioning.
“It’s a very bold new idea,” says MIT physicist Svetlana Boriskina, who wrote an accompanying commentary. Demand for the new material could be far-reaching, she says. “Every person who wears clothes could be a potential user of this product.”
Current cooling devices include wearable fans and wicking fabrics; both rely on evaporation to cool human skin. But skin also sheds heat in another way — as infrared radiation. Clothing holds this heat close to the body, Cui says. If infrared