Scientists develop polar bear fur-inspired thermal textile
Chinese scientists have developed a thermally insulating textile inspired by polar bear fur, which could possibly be used in producing military clothing.
The advanced material has very low thermal conductivity which can prevent heat loss, Bai Hao, a research fellow at Zhejiang University's College of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the leader of the team which developed the textile, told the Global Times on Monday.
Bai said that the average thermal conductivity of the material is even lower than polar bears' hair.
Polar bear fur has another advantage in that they can conceal the bear from thermal imaging cameras used in many night-vision devices, Chemistry and Engineering News reported on Monday.
The fur has a hollow core, which helps keep the bear warm and reflects back infrared radiation emissions from the animal's body, Chemistry and Engineering News said.
To imitate the structure, Bai's team mixed silk with water, and slowly squeezed the mixture through a syringe into a device at a low temperature where a frozen fiber containing ice crystals was formed.
Bai said that the material is expected to be used in producing garments with better heat restoration capabilities, and will cost less than down jackets.
It can also be used as military clothing, such as concealing soldiers due to its special structure, Bai said.