A battery-powered coat and a temperature-controlled sweater…
Smart clothes are an extension of the gadgets that we carry around with us everywhere, like phones, watches and headphones. In this sense, smart clothes have their advantages over ordinary ones, they have a large area, so more devices and sensors can be placed. Hi-tech understands when we will wear a high-tech down jacket in winter.
The world’s lightest insulation, phase change materials and self-heating elements – this is what the winter clothing of the future will consist of.
The latest heaters
One of the first revolutionary heaters was Polartec Alpha. This is a fleece that has long fibers located in the layer of the inner fabric, and on both sides there is a layer that protects against moisture and wind.
The competitor of Polartec Alpha was the Thermoball insulation – it contains many synthetic balls that replicate the structure of goose down. Separate particles retain heat better than a single material, the company notes.
Later, Primaloft, which invented ThermoBall, created Gold Insulation Aerogel. This is an airgel or synthetic fiber, 98% of which is air. The remaining 2% is a gel-like polymer that envelops many air capsules. Airgel is considered the lightest solid in existence, and it also has the lowest thermal conductivity.
NASA placed an order for a technology for thermal management materials called Outlast. The agency wanted to use such materials for space suits so that astronauts do not feel discomfort during temperature changes.
During development, scientists used PCM (Phase Change Materials) – stands for “phase change materials”. These are substances that are able to change their state from solid to liquid and vice versa at certain temperatures.
The phase-change materials were decomposed into microcapsules: the resulting substance was called Thermocules. If a person freezes, the capsules emit heat, and when heated, on the contrary, they absorb.
Using Outlast technology, they created a sweater that proved to be successful in the space environment. Now, sportswear, thermal underwear and everyday goods are created using a similar technique.
The phase-change materials were decomposed into microcapsules: the resulting substance was called Thermocules. If a person freezes, the capsules emit heat, and when it heats up, on the contrary, they absorb
Fabric that releases and absorbs heat
Similar work was carried out by researchers from the United States and China. They developed a fabric that changes with changes in body temperature. If it gets hot, the fibers shrink. When the temperature drops, the material, on the contrary, becomes more fluffy.
When creating their fabric, the authors were inspired by birds: the latter use feathers to adapt to the temperature. Fluff them up when it’s cold or make them smooth when it gets hot.
Physicists from Belgium have created a fabric that can become warm or very light: the state changes depending on the side on which it is worn. Scientists have achieved this effect, since different sides of the fabric have different radiant properties. Clothing made from a material with asymmetric thermoregulation will be comfortable to wear at 11.3-24.4 ° C.
For the reflective layer, the authors proposed to make them from metal, and for the absorbing layer, from a dielectric. During the work, scientists analyzed the reflective and absorbing properties. As a result, they found that the characteristics of the fabric are superior to many known materials with dual thermoregulation.
One of the most famous companies that creates clothes with heating elements is Loomia. It develops smart fabrics using modern technology and uses blockchain to protect user data.
Most of the company’s products are based on the LOOMIA Electronic layer or LEL element. This is a soft, light and flexible circuit that captures and analyzes changes in the external environment. It also detects air temperature and is sensitive to touch. The circuit can heat up, feel touches like a sensor and analyze how comfortable the user is – hot or cold. This information is then sent to the blockchain platform.
This is how the Emel+Aris self-heating coat came about. This is a smart coat that works by infrared radiation. Ceramic panels are installed in it: they collect heat and give it to the user.
Most of the company’s products are based on the LOOMIA Electronic layer or LEL element. This is a soft, lightweight and flexible circuit that captures and analyzes changes in the external environment, it also determines the air temperature and is sensitive to touch.
Now high technologies are successfully coming into fashion and becoming household wardrobe items. The initiative comes from large companies that offer expensive goods to a small circle of people, but the mass market quickly perceives trends and adapts them to a wider range of customers.