DID YOU KNOW, that around 15% of all the worlds global electricity consumption goes to keeping us cool? No this isn’t one of our social media facts. This is a fact that scientists are doing their best to rectify as soon as they can. They have been searching for ways that humanity can keep themselves cool in uncomfortably warm environments without the need to use electricity.
Jia Zhu from China’s Nanjing University and their colleagues may have just cracked the code. Inspired by silk, they have engineered a new material that can help keep skin a whole 12.5 degrees Celsius cooler than cotton clothing. They embedded the silk fibres with aluminum oxide nanoparticles that reflect 95% of the ultraviolet wavelengths of sunlight that they come in to contact with.
Tests have shown that because of its ability to reflect a large quantity of the sunlight that it comes in to contact with, it is able to stay up to 3.5 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding air and keep skin up to 8 degrees Celsius cooler than natural silk. For some perspective, this is the first fabric to be developed that stays cooler than its surroundings, so for it to have the potential to be 3.5 degrees cooler is incredible.
Although this fabric has been produced to deal mainly with warm outdoor environments, it can be used to keep you cooler indoors. With the potential to keep people warm whilst they are exercising, this material could really take off.