Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Chinese scientists make fibres like polar bear hairs
Chinese scientists make fibres like polar bear hairs
04
Mar '18
Courtesy: Chemical & Engineering News
Courtesy: Chemical & Engineering News
Scientists from Zhejiang University have developed a cloak that makes a bunny almost invisible to infrared cameras, thanks to fibres that mimic the structure of polar bear hairs. The hairs of a polar bear have a hollow core, which reflects back IR emissions from the body. This structure helps prevent heat loss and keeps the bears warm in Arctic environments.

But the hairs have an added advantage: They can conceal the bears from thermal imaging cameras used in many night-vision devices. Textiles that can mimic polar bear hair’s IR-reflecting abilities might be useful in stealth applications, such as concealing soldiers. Previous attempts to make synthetic versions of the hairs have produced fibres that are too weak to be practically useful.

A team from Zhejiang University has now used a freeze-spinning method to make fibres that are porous, strong, and highly thermally insulating. They consist of fibroin, a protein found in silk, along with a small amount of the polysaccharide chitosan.

The researchers slowly squeezed a viscous, watery mixture of these materials through a cold copper ring, forming a frozen fibre that contained flat ice crystals. Freeze-drying the fibres removed the ice by sublimation to produce strong fibres about 200 micrometers wide with up to 87 per cent porosity. After varying conditions such as the viscosity of the mixture and the temperature of the ring, they found that running the process at minus100 degree Celsius produced pores about 30 micrometers across, which offered the best balance between strength and thermal insulation.

“I was surprised to see the thermal conductivity of the biomimetic fibre was even lower than polar bear hair,” says Hao Bai, who led the team.

It’s not the first time that this ice-templating method has been used to make porous fibres, says Sylvain Deville, research director of the Ceramic Synthesis and Functionalisation Laboratory, who uses the method in his own research. But, he says, the team demonstrated good control of the fibre structures.

To demonstrate the thermal stealth potential of the fibres, the researchers wove them into a textile to make a little cape for a live lab rabbit. The critter’s body heat was all but invisible by thermal imaging, whether the background temperature was 40 degree Celsius, 15 degree Celsius or -10 degree Celsius.

As an encore, the Zhejiang team produced an electrically-conductive textile by adding carbon nanotubes to the mixture of fibre precursors. Applying a voltage of 5 V raised the conductive fabric’s temperature from 24 degree Celsius to 36 degree Celsius in less than one minute—not useful for stealth, but potentially helpful for keeping winter clothing cozy. “It’s interesting that they’re able to introduce different materials, so they can combine different functionalities,” Deville says.

Bai has patented the freeze-spinning technique, and hopes to develop the fibre into a commercial product. However, Deville notes that the freeze-spinning process is currently quite slow. “I suspect they will never be able to go very fast, so they may not be able to use it for large-scale applications.” (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


Must ReadView All

China reportedly cancels trade talks with US, Liu He visit

Apparel/Garments | On 22nd Sep 2018

China reportedly cancels trade talks with US, Liu He visit

Washington is reportedly positive about arriving at a solution to its ...

AmCham Cambodia cautions US against possible sanctions

Apparel/Garments | On 22nd Sep 2018

AmCham Cambodia cautions US against possible sanctions

In a letter to US lawmakers, the American Chamber of Commerce...

Courtesy: ycloset

Apparel/Garments | On 22nd Sep 2018

Alibaba invests in clothes sharing platform Ycloset

Chinese garment sharing platform YCloset has completed an undisclosed ...

Interviews View All

Smita Murarka, Amanté

Smita Murarka
Amanté

‘There is huge demand in the Indian lingerie market for non-wired styles.’

Karan Toshniwal, Orange O Tec

Karan Toshniwal
Orange O Tec

Contemporary industry is paying more and more attention to the...

Jim Desai, Blaiva Fabricaa

Jim Desai
Blaiva Fabricaa

Fashion industry likely to remain labour-intensive in coming years

Suresh P Bagrecha,

Suresh P Bagrecha

Komal Texfab, founded in 1981, is into manufacturing of knitted fabrics,...

Urmil Arya,

Urmil Arya

Sushila International, a well established textile organisation established ...

Ramez Basmaji,

Ramez Basmaji

Fabusse is a Lebanon-based fashion agency that offers a variety of...

Kazuaki Yazawa, Purdue University

Kazuaki Yazawa
Purdue University

Scientist <b>Kazuaki Yazawa</b> has developed thermoelectric semiconductor ...

Paige Mullis, Glen Raven Inc

Paige Mullis
Glen Raven Inc

Paige Mullis discusses the expansion plans of Glen Raven Inc in India, and ...

Larry L Kinn, Suominen Corporation

Larry L Kinn
Suominen Corporation

Larry L Kinn, Senior Vice President - Operations Americas of Suominen...

Bani Batra,

Bani Batra

Bani Batra’s couture wedding collection is inspired by traditional Indian...

Nisha Chanda, Whistling Woods International School of Fashion

Nisha Chanda
Whistling Woods International School of Fashion

<div>A lack of upgraded courses in costume designing and fashion as per...

Cigdem Akin, Cigdem Akin

Cigdem Akin
Cigdem Akin

She has carved a niche for herself as the national brand of Turkey. Her...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

Leave your Comments


September 2018

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

news category


Related Categories:

Advanced Search