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Solar jacket charges itself to glow in the dark

What's New? | August 21, 2017 | By:

At night, the Solar Charged Jacket glows in the green spectrum. Photo: Vollebak.

Twin brothers and adventure athletes Nick and Steve Tidball have created a jacket made from material that can be charged to glow in the dark by exposing it to almost any light source. The company’s Solar Charged Jacket stores light to glow in the dark, and it protects from driving rain and winds, too.

Their company, Vollebak, tested its Solar Charged Jacket in a forest in the U.K., where there was as much shade as sun. The tests revealed that a couple hours of charge in daylight can yield up to 12 hours of glow. Since it’s charged fastest by sunlight, the simplest way to charge it is by wearing it outside during the day. But other light sources will also work: a lightbulb, headlights or even a cell phone.

The fabric in the Solar Charged Jacket reacts so quickly, that you can see it charge in as little as two seconds by holding a smart phone’s flashlight against the surface of it to pinpoint charge it. Photo: Vollebak.

The core technology is its waterproof membrane, engineered with a phosphorescent compound that rapidly absorbs and stores light, then re-releases that light slowly as day turns to night. The longer it’s charged, and the brighter the source used, the more energy it will absorb and the longer and brighter it will glow.

In daylight the jacket is a light grey color; when it’s fully charged at night, it glows in the green spectrum at around 530 nanometers before fading to silvery green and then white. With the phosphorescence engineered into the membrane, it can’t wash out or rub off.

The company says it’s well suited for almost any type of sport or adventure, day or night, and at 230g it’s also lightweight and takes little space for packing.

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