Cool clothing: Can nanodiamonds in fabrics lower the heat?

RMIT University researchers are developing smart fabrics with nanodiamonds to help wearers cool down faster.  

The study discovered that fabric coated with nanodiamonds using a procedure known as electrospinning reduced by 2-3 degrees Celsius during the cooling process when compared to untreated cotton. 

Shadi Houshyar, project lead and RMIT senior lecturer, stated that there is a significant chance to apply these insights to develop innovative materials for sporting and even personal protection equipment, such as underlayers to keep firefighters cool. 

The study also discovered that nanodiamonds improved the UV protection of cotton, making it suitable for outdoor summer wear. 

“While 2 or 3 degrees may not seem like much of a change, it does make a difference in comfort and health impacts over extended periods and in practical terms, could be the difference between keeping your air conditioner off or turning it on,” Houshyar said. 

“There’s also potential to explore how nanodiamonds can be used to protect buildings from overheating, which can lead to environmental benefits.”

The usage of this fabric in clothes was expected to save 20-30 per cent on energy costs due to reduced air conditioning demand. 

The research team, based at the Centre for Materials Innovation and Future Fashion (CMIFF), is made up of RMIT engineers and textile researchers with experience in designing next-generation smart textiles.

Nanodiamonds were chosen for this study because of their strong thermal conductivity properties, according to lead researcher and RMIT research assistant, Aisha Rehman. 

While the research was still in its early stages, Houshyar believes this process of putting nanofibres on textiles has significant commercial promise. 

Further research will look into the nanofibres’ endurance, particularly during the washing process.  

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