Relief for warriors at arctic zone! Soldiering in frosty conditions to be made comfortable with high tech fabrics
Washington D.C./ USA, August 21: Sleeping warm under the blankets, had we ever thought of how the soldiers at arctic condition strive to safeguard their respective nation? Soldiering in the frosty condition is not at all an easy job. Fortunately, a team of researchers is all set to make the life of warriors at the polar regions more comfortable.
Scientists are engaged in the research for making high-tech fabrics that heat up when powered and that capture sweat. This would be a great relief for the soldiers and make them battle-ready in bitterly cold climates. Later these fabrics could be used as consumer clothing. The innovation was presented at the 254th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Soldiers used to wear gloves (Army’s cold-weather hand gear) during winter. But these gloves won’t prevent the paratroopers from the feeling of numbness while they parachute to earth during arctic conditions. Thus, soldiers find it difficult to hold the weapons when their hands and legs remain insensible as soon as they land.
Scientists are pursuing the ways to modify hand gear to deal with that extreme cold weather. The invention got inspired by research led by Yi Cui at Stanford University. The team incorporated fine silver nanowires, and placed the network of wires on cotton. The fabric was heated by applying power to these silver nanowires.
The idea will be used to make fabrics suitable for military uniforms, like polyester, cotton or nylon blend. Applying 3 volts to 1-inch by 1-inch test swatches of theses fabrics, the output of a typical watch battery, raises the temperature by 100 degrees Fahrenheit in just one minute.
If the idea work out in military uniforms, soldiers could alter the voltage to vary the amount of heat in the uniform according to the outside weather. Soldiers, who have to go through long distances carrying heavy loads, would feel comfortable when the added heating makes their uniform thinner and lighter. A layer of sweat absorbing hydrogel particles made of polyethylene glycol or poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) would be included in the uniform. The sweat could be released by hanging the uniform in warmer indoor air after the soldiers return accomplishing their missions.
Repeated laundering won’t affect the fabric due to the presence of silver nanowires. Researchers are working on how to apply hydrogel in the best possible manner to make it equally durable. Researchers will also investigate how hydrogel and silver mesh interact with each other. As batteries in the uniforms could be heavy, researcher would consider different power sources for the silver mesh.
Once the researchers succeed in making the fabric for gloves, the idea would be extended in making clothing for the chest and legs. Later it could pave way into consumer products.
(Inputs from ANI)