Research: Graphene Helps in Lowering Body Temperature! Can it Aid in Building Design Too?

Graphene is a miraculous material that has created tremendous interest to the researchers due to its various mesmerizing properties. Recently, scientists from The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute have used thermal properties and flexibility of two-dimensional (2D) material Graphene to create smart adaptive clothing which can aid in reducing the body temperature of the wearer in the hot weather.

Published in journal Nano Letters, this new research was conducted by those scientists who earlier used graphene to create ‘thermal camouflage’ which would fool infrared cameras. They have formed a prototype garment to show dynamic thermal radiation control within a piece of clothing. It is said that this new study will also open the doors to new applications such as infrared displays, secret infrared communication on textiles and even dynamic thermal management of earth-orbiting satellites.

The best thing with this new research is that it can also be integrated into cotton and other mass-manufacture textile materials. To demonstrate the technology, the team developed a prototype product within a t-shirt allowing the wearer to project coded messages which can’t be visible to the naked eye but can only readable by infrared cameras.

The science behind creating this garment comes from the fact that the human body radiates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves in the infrared spectrum, which is also called blackbody radiation. By wearing this infrared-transparent cloth in the warm temperature, you will feel a sudden decrease in body temperature.

Moreover, these infrared-blocking covers are great to minimize the energy loss from the body in colder climates. For example, the emergency blankets that are commonly used in excessive temperature climates. For creating these textiles, the researchers electrically tuned the infrared emissivity of graphene layers integrated onto textiles.

First explored in 2004 in The University of Manchester, this one-atom-thick graphene has been used in the making of several commercial products, including mobile phones, solar cells, sensors, batteries, automotive and sporting goods.

The amazing properties, including tearing resistance and high traction, of graphene make it an ideal additive for concrete and cement. With the help of Graphene, the life span of concrete increases dramatically. As we know, currently, the cities are facing the “urban heat island” effect, which results in the consistent rise in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in the city. So, is there any possibility that in future graphene can also be used to lower the temperature we face inside the buildings as well as the cities’ outside spaces?

News Source: The information is provided by the University of Manchester.

Journal information: M. Said Ergoktas, Gokhan Bakan, Pietro Steiner, Cian Bartlam, Yury Malevich, Elif Ozden-Yenigun, Guanliang He, Nazmul Karim, Pietro Cataldi, Mark A. Bissett, Ian A. Kinloch, Kostya S. Novoselov, Coskun Kocabas. Graphene-Enabled Adaptive Infrared Textiles. Nano Letters, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c01694

Image Courtesy: University of Manchester

*Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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