An all-surface radiative thermal technology for personal thermoregulation
With increasing focus on the health benefits of fitness, sports, and leisure activities, the demand for clothing, which can augment sports and outdoor activities is expected to grow. Personal thermoregulation can also address sustainability issues by saving energy that is required to heat or cool the environment and provide a direct avenue to reduce energy consumption. Currently, there are companies creating apparel that can either perform to passively cool or heat the body, but few can adapt to do both. The human bodies absorb and lose heat through infrared radiation (IR). Therefore, managing IR is an effective route of personal thermal regulation that can help reduce energy consumption.
Duke inventors have developed a material with tailored heat transmission properties. This is a wearable technology where the user can control whether it is heating or cooling, and it is intended for applications such as in outdoor gear and clothing. It is composed of a surface-textured elastomer coated with a metallic back reflector that can rapidly switch between being transmissive, emissive or reflective to infrared radiation depending upon the strain applied. The device has three switchable modes of operation for heating and cooling of all surface types. A lab-scale prototype has been tested.
The technology can be used to camouflage objects from thermal imaging devices
- A new design paradigm for radiation regulation, thermal management, and infrared camouflage technology
- Energy-passive heating and cooling of all surface types
- Low cost and light-weight material is suitable for use in athletic apparel
- Pneumatically controlled – no need for electronics