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Inspired by Squids, Scientists Create Fabric That Adjusts to Body Temperature

Taking a cue from the ocean, scientists have developed a fabric that adjusts according to the wearer's body temperature to keep them warm or cool.

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com@RakaMukherjeee

Updated:April 30, 2019, 6:40 PM IST
Inspired by Squids, Scientists Create Fabric That Adjusts to Body Temperature
Representative Image. Credits: Reuters/Michael Fiala.

The ocean is a pretty cool place, even though 95% of it is still unexplored.

Taking a cue from the 5% that is actually explored, scientists have invented a new fabric that can adjust to the wearers body temperature. Their inspiration? Squids.

The way the fabric works is that it essentially mimics the same thing squids to camouflage themselves in different parts of the ocean and allows the user to control the fabric to keep them either cooler or warmer.

The discovery of the fabric which was published in the science journal Nature Communications explains that in its undisturbed state, the fabric looks similar to a foil, and acts as an insulator, the same way wearing wool or fleece. When stretched, the fabric allows heat to escape through it, and has similar effects as a light-weight cotton shirt.

Sounds like the perfect all-weather-sweater you need?

The way the components of the fabric work mimics the cephalopod's ability to camouflage itself by rapidly changing colour is due, in part to skin cells called chromatophores that can instantly change from minute points to flattened disks. The fabric, also contains 'tiny metal islands' which when stretched apart, allow the trapped heat to escape.

Lead author Erica Leung revealed that the fabric works in a very similar fashion to 'a traditional Mylar space blanket,' which are used in disaster zones.

One of the authors on the paper also broke down how essentially, this fabric would help when the person next to you might require it at a few degrees higher than you would, and instead of adjusting the common AC temperature, you can adjust your own fabric instead.

Still not sold on this fabric? It helps the environment too!

The fabric, or subsequent use of it, could result in potential savings of 30 to 40 percent on heating and air conditioning energy use.

Other benefits that this fabric offer is being light weight, having a low cost of manufacturing, and durability of the material. The fabric can be stretched out and then returned to its original state thousands of time over.

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