Bio-morphing Material Can Help Save Energy

Thursday 4th May 2017

In the past people were energy savvy - if at home they began to feel a little chilly they wouldn’t quickly add another piece of coal to the fire, or turn up the heat, they would put on a wooly sweater.

Somewhere over the past few decades we seem to have lost this wisdom - we just crank up the heating and remain clothed in T-shirts and shorts, or if too warm turn up the air-con rather than strip down!

One of the best ways of saving energy is to wrap up a little warmer or dress cooler, rather than dialling up the thermostat, but we either do not have the correct clothes handy, or often we maybe too lazy to go and get them. We can also get fed up of adding and removing layers.

This is all just indoors of course - out of doors layers are important, but also inconvenient - it often means carrying more clothing than you need for most of the time.

The wonderful people at Otherlab are developing a solution - that could also save you energy due to convenience.

The Othermaterials textile project sees fabric that will morph, on its own, from a standard shirt like fabric into an insulated covering - it ‘puffs’ up!

How does it do this? When the temperature drops the material opens insulating chambers using what Otherlabs calls a “biomorph actuator.” To explain, it uses different fabrics which react by arching at certain temperatures. If these fabrics are layered on top of each other, the change is three-dimensional. The curls produce space throughout the combined material, which acts as insulation. The change is dramatic - from T-shirt to insulated jacket without any change of clothing.

Watch the video below - currently the research has developed just a small piece of fabric, but the concept is readily seen.

Can you imagine wearing biomorphing clothing at work or at home - it would save energy by reducing the need to be continually changing the temperature, while you remain comfortable all day.

This film of the material reacting has been speeded up by a factor fo 10.

Categories: General, Reviews, Technology

Thursday 4th May 2017

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