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Graphene could be used to create smart fabrics that adapt to heat

Despite being discovered more than half a century ago, it was not until a few years ago that graphene became an element of great interest on the part of researchers and scientists, who took advantage of its properties to put them at the service of areas such as electronics. and medicine. In fact, we recently unveiled the potential present in this element to detect the coronavirus.

Now a new research associated with graphene is emerging in which it is described how a team of researchers were able to create intelligent and adaptable clothing based on this element with the ability, in addition, to reduce a person’s body temperature in warm environments.

This is how the team of scientists from the National Graphene Institute, attached to the University of Manchester, has joined forces to create a prototype of a garment in order to show how the dynamic control of thermal radiation acts from within, an objective that could be achieved thanks to the thermal properties and flexibility present in graphene.

This is how this achievement represents a gateway for the use of graphene in other fields such as the development of interactive infrared displays, as well as infrared communications from tissues.

How it works

To better understand how this garment works, it is first necessary to understand that the human body emits energy in the form of electromagnetic waves within an infrared spectrum, also known as black body radiation.

Within a warm climate, it is key to take advantage of infrared radiation in its entirety in order to reduce body temperature as much as possible, using transparent infrared fabrics.

On the other hand, those covers equipped with the ability to block infrared are appropriate to attenuate the loss of energy from the body.

Taking this fact into account, the scientists demonstrated the dynamic transition between two opposite states by electrically adjusting the infrared emitting property of the graphene layers present in tissues.

Using graphene to control thermal radiation

This is how this research highlights the fact that the thermal visibility present in intelligent optical technology can be modifiable.

In this sense, technology makes use of graphene layers to regulate the thermal radiation generated by textile surfaces.

In reference to this, Professor Coskun Kocabas, the research leader, stated:

The ability to control thermal radiation is a key need for several critical applications, such as managing body temperature in hot climates. Thermal blankets are a common example used for this purpose. However, maintaining these capabilities as the environment warms up or cools down has been a notable challenge.

It should be noted that in order to carry out this study, a previous investigation belonging to the same group was taken as a reference in which the elaboration of a thermal camouflage from graphene was carried out with the purpose of deceiving infrared cameras.

Moreover, recent research has also shown how graphene can be integrated into mass-produced textile materials such as cotton.

For this, the team undertook the task of developing a product prototype on the inside of a T-shirt with which it was possible to project coded messages that went unnoticed to the naked eye but which, when registered by infrared cameras, became legible. .

With the fulfillment of this achievement, the team has its sights set on providing a solution to the need for dynamic thermal management that can be applied to Earth orbit satellites in order to minimize the excess temperature generated when they point towards the Sun, thus as well as the cooling produced when they are in the shadow of the Earth.