Wear smart fabrics in summer without air conditioning

Wear smart fabrics

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, are developing a smart fabric that helps wearers maintain a comfortable temperature. Their purpose is to: reduce dependence on air conditioning.

According to data from the US Department of Energy, 5% of all electricity generated in the United States is used for air conditioning. This is not only reflected in the fact that the US National Grid needs billions of dollars to generate electricity, but also needs to emit hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year. In other countries, such as India, the total energy consumption generated by air-conditioning is expected to increase by an order of magnitude in the next decade.

Although we can help reduce energy consumption and reduce pollution by developing more energy-efficient air conditioners and building green homes and offices, in the long run, finding ways to find a way to live and work without air conditioning may have more influence.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) has been funding several initiatives, including a project called ATTACH (Adaptive Textile Technology with Dynamic Cooling and Heating).

This is a three-year project led by Joseph Wang, professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego. The goal is to develop a personal, wearable heating and cooling technology for office workers that will reduce Energy consumption of building HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning). Different from other advanced fabric technologies, the purpose is to design for people who work outdoors (whether in very cold or very hot climates). The ATTACH design temperature range is 19°C to 26°C. Clothing that uses this technology can help users reduce use in certain situations, even without using HVAC.

According to ATTACH team member Renkun Chen, “The goal of this project is to reach skin comfort temperatures of 93 degrees Fahrenheit (about 33 degrees Celsius).” The technology being developed is based on adaptive textiles, and when the ambient temperature decreases or rises, it will Automatically increase or decrease their adiabatic values ​​(porosity and thickness). Part of this mechanism will be purely passive and will not consume electricity at all. In addition, the team plans to add integrated heating elements and cooling elements, using printed thermoelectric devices and batteries.

According to reports, their team is looking for different innovative ways of driving dynamic components. There is a flexible biofuel cell, and human sweat is the source of electricity for the fuel cell.

ATTACH is still in the early stages of development, and different teams are responsible for different components. If everything goes according to plan, these components are expected to be integrated into a single wearable textile prototype over a three-year period, and by then we can say goodbye to air conditioning.

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