A team of researchers at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) led by Qing Wang, professor of materials science and engineering, has created nanowire material that could cool with an electric field that is safe for humans. Such nanoarrays are lightweight and flexible enough to be embedded in firefighter gears, athlete garments and for other uses.
The nanoarrays are made up of ferroelectric barium strontium titanate, which can cool to about 5.5 degree Fahrenheit using 36 volts. Ferroelectric polymers used earlier by others require an electric field that’s not within the safety limits for human beings.
The researchers state that just a 500-gram battery can power the nanoarrays for two hours, which is sufficient for people who do moderate exercise. An important advancement with this wearable technology is that it does not require regeneration of coolants and hence avoids ozone depletion.
The U.S. National Science Foundation research at Penn State showcases further advancements in the field of wearable textiles. The wearable textiles field is getting considerable attention in the United States with the recent creation of $317 million in public-private partnership funding through a consortium at Cambridge, Mass.-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Seshadri Ramkumar, PhD, FTA (Honorary), is professor, Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Laboratory, Texas Tech University.