24/7 Space News
Polar bear fur-inspired fibers offer exceptional thermal insulation, tested in a sweater
stock illustration only
Polar bear fur-inspired fibers offer exceptional thermal insulation, tested in a sweater
by Staff Writers
Hangzhou, China (SPX) Dec 22, 2023

Inspired by the structure of polar bear fur, researchers present a knittable aerogel fiber with exceptional thermal and mechanical properties. The fibers are washable, dyeable, durable, and well-suited to be used in advanced textiles. This allowed the researchers to test them in a sweater that demonstrated impressive thermal insulation, among other features. Aerogels are an ideal material for thermal insulation. They demonstrate high porosity and extremely low thermal conductivity.

However, the application of aerogels in insulating fibers for textiles has been limited because of their fragility and poor processability. Not only do they lack the strength and stretchability needed to weave or knit them into practical textiles, but current aerogel fibers are not machine washable and quickly lose their thermal insulation capability in wet or humid environments. Many animals that live in extremely cold environments have evolved specialized furs that keep them warm and dry. For example, polar bear hair is comprised of a porous core enclosed within a dense shell structure.

As a result, the hairs provide outstanding thermal insulation while maintaining strength and flexibility. Mimicking the core-shell structure of polar bear hair, Mingrui Wu and colleagues used a freeze-spinning approach to create a strong polymeric aerogel fiber with lamellar pores. They then encapsulated it with a thin, stretchable rubber layer. The resulting encapsulated aerogel fiber (EAF) achieves excellent thermal insulation performance while also being mechanically robust, making it suitable for knitting or weaving.

Despite the fiber's high internal porosity (over 90%), Wu et al. show that the fiber is stretchable up to 1000% strain - a significant improvement compared to traditional aerogel fibers, which only achieve ~2% strain. The fiber maintained its thermal insulation properties with minimal impact even after 10,000 repeated stretching cycles at 100% strain. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that the EAF is washable and dyeable.

As a proof-of-concept, Wu et al. wove a thin sweater made from the fibers, which, despite being roughly one-fifth as thick as a down jacket, provided comparable insulating performance. In a related Perspective, Zhizhi Sheng and Xuetong Zhang discuss the study in greater detail.

Research Report:Biomimetic, knittable aerogel fiber for thermal insulation textile

Related Links
Zhejiang University
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Second-hand clothes finally take off in Japan
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 19, 2023
A second-hand pop-up store in Tokyo by casual clothing giant Uniqlo was a first for the Japanese firm, but also a sign that a local aversion to used garments may finally be fading. Uniqlo is a major player in an industry blamed for immense carbon emissions and other pollutants like microplastics. It has ridden a wave of consumers buying, and throwing away, ever more clothes. But in Japan, the world's third-biggest clothes market, growing awareness of the sector's huge environmental impact ha ... read more

Insect compasses, fire-fighting vines: 2023's nature-inspired tech

MSBAI and Princeton partner in SpaceWERX contract to enhance space flight training

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin headed back into space after accident

NASA: Let's Ketchup on International Space Station Tomato Research

Green hydrogen for Ariane 6 and more

Virgin Galactic sets January 2024 for 11th mission

After a 12-day hiatus, launches resume on the Space Coast

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin sets new launch attempt for Tuesday

A Soliday Before the Holidays Sols 4039-4040

Watch Your Step: Sols 4037-4038

NASA's Perseverance Rover Deciphers Ancient History of Martian Lake

A Rinse and Repeat Kind of Plan: Sols 4035-4036

China's commercial space sector achieves milestones with series of successful launches

China's space programme: Five things to know

Long March rockets mark their 500th spaceflight

CAS Space expands into Guangdong with new rocket engine testing complex

Measuring how space creates jobs and prosperity on Earth

Satellite Communications Innovator Lynk Global to Go Public via Slam Corp. Merger

USAGM enlists SES Space and Defense for advanced global satellite Broadcasting

Investor Coalition demands leadership overhaul at Terran Orbital amid CEO controversy

Polar bear fur-inspired fibers offer exceptional thermal insulation, tested in a sweater

Second-hand clothes finally take off in Japan

Chile's state-owned mining giant forms lithium extraction alliance

China halts export of some rare earth processing technologies

Some Icy Exoplanets May Have Habitable Oceans and Geysers

Earth may have had all the elements needed for life within it all along

Research unveils atmospheric dynamics of runaway greenhouse effect

NASA Study Finds Life-Sparking Energy Source and Molecule at Enceladus

Webb rings in the holidays with the ringed planet Uranus

Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets

Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby

Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.