This summer, we may have one thing less to worry about. Okay, maybe not this summer, but very soon, we’ll be able to say goodbye to those uncomfortable patches of sweat, as scientists have discovered a new waterproof fabric that can drain your perspiration and keep you dry.
The new fabric acts pretty much like human skin: it forms droplets of sweat that can easily drain away instead of just soaking it up like all conventional fabrics.
The inventor, UC Davis biomedical engineering professor Tingrui Pan explained that the new fabric is part of a field of research known as microfluidics. The research focuses on developing lab on a chip devices, which manipulate fluids by using tiny channels. The technique is developed for various applications, including medical diagnostic tests.
That sounds like a lot of fancy science talk so let’s see what it actually means for the new waterproof fabric. In developing the new textile material, scientists used water-attracting threads which they stitched into a water-repellant fabric. This gave birth to thread patterns that actually suck in water on one side of the fabric and propel it out through the other side.
Meaning that the technology is similar to a water-pump, only that it works almost instantaneously, keeping the fabric dry. Even when the water attracting threads are soaked, the system keeps on pumping the water out due to the pressure generated by the water drops on the surface of the fabric.
What’s even more interesting is that it is possible to control where the fabric collects the sweat and the where it propels it out of the system. This can be achieved by changing the water conducting threads’ patterns and the manner in which they are stitched together on both sides of the fabric.
Given that this technology keeps the fabric completely dry, we expect it to find its way into clothing manufacturing pretty soon. The technique is fairly simple in terms of manufacturing, so it could be easily scaled up into larger clothing items, UC Davis scientists explained. We’re looking forward to that moment!
[Image via Science Daily]