Stanford researchers have developed a reversible fabric that, without expending effort or energy, keeps skin a comfortable temperature whatever the weather.
In a paper published Nov. 10th in Science Advances, a team led by Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering, created a double-sided fabric based on the same material as everyday kitchen wrap. Their fabric can either warm or cool the wearer, depending which side faces out.
On one side of the fabric, a copper coating traps heat between a polyethylene layer and the skin; on the other, a carbon coating releases heat under another layer of polyethylene. Worn with the copper layer facing out, the material traps heat and warms the skin on cool days. With the carbon layer facing out, it releases heat, keeping the wearer cool.
Combined, the sandwiched material can increase a person’s range of comfortable temperatures over 10°F, and Po-Chun Hsu, who was first author on the recent paper, predicts that the potential range is much larger – close to 25°F.