UCI scientists partner with Under Armour to create squidlike fabric for self-regulating thermal comfort

With a $2.8 million grant, UCI assistant professor of chemical engineering & materials science Alon Gorodetsky and colleagues are working with Under Armour to create a fabric based on the adaptive principles of squid skin that will enable wearers to regulate their own temperature.

As the undersea masters of disguise, squid have an amazing ability to blend into their environment to hide from predators. A UCI assistant professor of chemical engineering & materials science studying the creature’s dynamic color- and shape-changing properties is applying what he’s discovered to develop a new type of fabric that lets wearers regulate their own temperature. With a $2.8 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, Alon Gorodetsky and several colleagues have partnered with sports clothing manufacturer Under Armour to create this breathable, next-generation fabric. The proposed Thermocomfort textile would merge the established heat-managing capabilities of materials similar to those used in space blankets with the adaptive principles underlying squid skin. The idea is that a jacket made from this fabric would capture and release body heat, adjusting to the user’s preference. “Our goal is to develop technology so that each person can regulate his or her own thermal comfort, which potentially would let buildings expand their temperature set points by just a few degrees in each direction,” Gorodetsky said. “We would then need far less energy for heating and cooling office buildings, which could save 1 to 2 percent of all energy used in the U.S. per year.”

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