UCLA Engineers(USA) have developed a material on the basis of which it will be possible to make space blankets of the new generation, capable of controlling how much heat passes through them, writes EurekAlert. An article in the Nature Communications journal describing innovative development indicates that scientists “peeped” the technology they needed from marine life — cuttlefish, squid, and octopus — that could instantly change the color of their skin, disguised as relief at risk.
"Ultra light space blankets have long beenapply on Earth. They are often used by marathon runners, allowing the body of the runners to retain the remaining heat after a long run. kept the remaining heat. However, the key disadvantage of such blankets is the static nature of the material from which they are made. It does not allow to regulate the level of heat transfer ”, - Alon Gorodetsky, associate professor of chemistry and biomolecular engineering at the California Institute of Irvine (UCI) comments on co-author of the new development.
“We have created a new version of the material, the peculiarity of which is the ability to change its properties, allowing to regulate the delay or release of heat,” adds the scientist.
The researchers took as a basis the skin designcovers of several different types of squid, octopus and cuttlefish that use adaptive, dynamic skin to exist in water. The unique ability of cephalopods to mask under the rapidly changing color is partly due to skin cells called chromatophores, which can instantly change from minute points to flat discs.
“We used a similar concept in ourdevelopment, creating a layer of tiny metal "islands" in the material, which border each other. In a relaxed state, the “islands” merge together, and the material reflects and captures heat. When the material stretches, the “islands” move away from each other, letting in more heat, ”explains the post-graduate student of the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering at UCI Eric Leung.
Researchers are considering manyopportunities for applying new material. For example, as reflective inserts in buildings to create an insulating layer adapted to different environmental conditions; for the manufacture of tents that would be exceptionally good for providing comfort to the inhabitants in the open air; The material can also be used to effectively control the temperature of valuable electronic components. Scientists believe that clothing will be a particularly suitable material for a new material inspired by biological features.
"Each person has his own temperature inpremises. One can be comfortable at +18 degrees Celsius, the other feels good only at +25 degrees. Our invention will allow to develop clothes that will provide comfort to everyone in the same room. In addition, this could lead to a potential savings of 30-40 percent on energy consumption for heating and air conditioning, ”the researchers explain.
As for the same runners, they canuse these blankets, equipped with special touch screens, allowing you to adjust your comfortable temperature. By the way, Under Armor Inc. seems to be interested in the development itself and this idea. - the company-manufacturer of sportswear, which collaborates with the developers of the new material.
Erica Leung also notes that the material was very light, durable, simple and at the same time cheap to manufacture.
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