Photo by Shutterstock
A new material developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could be used for self-warming clothing that hones heat from the sun. Made from a polymer film, the materials soaks up the suns rays during the day and stores it until needed. If developed into clothing, which is a possibility, wearers in cold climates could “charge up” their garments during the day, and release delectable heat during colder evenings.
MIT’s polymer works by sucking up energy from the sun, and storing it in a chemical state within the transparent film. Chemical storage maintains the stability of the heat, letting users release it at their own discretion. In the chemical state, the heat can be reactivated with small catalysts we all have on hand- light, heat or electricity.
That means a heat-stored jacket could be kicked into high gear with a flash of light or the touch of body heat. Researchers claim that when activated, the polymer material can heat up by 60 degrees Fahrenheit, letting a jacket envelop its wearer in a burst of warmth.
If applied to clothing, the sun-storing material could benefit everyone from athletes or cold-weather workers, as well as regular fashionistas living in chilly environments.
Researchers say the film is easy to produce, in a two step process. They are looking to apply the energy-harvesting film to materials and products like clothing, window glass and industrial products.