Clothes and coverings made of a smart fabric that radiates heat and reflects light might help people and things stay several degrees cooler when they are out in the sun.
The metafabric has near-perfect mid-infrared emissivity, which maximises heat dissipation. Titanium oxide beads, which are also present in sunscreens, and Teflon deflect UV and visible light, whereas polylactic acid fibres emit infrared light. In one experiment, a participant sat in direct sunshine for one hour while wearing a vest consisting of half metafabsorbent and half cotton. During that period, the skin temperature climbed from roughly 31°C to 32°C.
When in touch with the skin, the metafabric performs best. Wearing infrared-transparent clothing indoors is comparable to lowering the temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. The cloth may be coloured in a variety of colours, although white is the most efficient in reflecting sunlight. The widespread use of such clothes might aid in the fight against climate change by lowering the need for air conditioning.
Image source: newscientist.com
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