"Nanoporous polyethylene microfibres for large-scale radiative cooling fabric"

Yucan Peng: Jun Chen, Alex Y. Song, Peter B. Catrysse, Po-Chun Hsu, Lili Cai, Bofei Liu, Yangying Zhu, Guangmin Zhou, David S. Wu, Hye Ryoung Lee, Shanhui Fan & Yi Cui; Nature Sustainability, 02/01/18.

Additional Authors: Jun Chen, Alex Y. Song, Peter B. Catrysse, Po-Chun Hsu, Lili Cai, Bofei Liu, Yangying Zhu, Guangmin Zhou, David S. Wu, Hye Ryoung Lee, Shanhui Fan & Yi Cui

Abstract:

Global warming and energy crises severely limit the ability of human civilization to develop along a sustainable path. Increasing renewable energy sources and decreasing energy consumption are fundamental steps to achieve sustainability. Technological innovations that allow energy-saving behaviour can support sustainable development pathways. Energy-saving fabrics with a superior cooling effect and satisfactory wearability properties provide a novel way of saving the energy used by indoor cooling systems. Here, we report the large-scale extrusion of uniform and continuous nanoporous polyethylene (nanoPE) microfibres with cotton-like softness for industrial fabric production. The nanopores embedded in the fibre effectively scatter visible light to make it opaque without compromising the mid-infrared transparency. Moreover, using industrial machines, the nanoPE microfibres are utilized to mass produce fabrics. Compared with commercial cotton fabric of the same thickness, the nanoPE fabric exhibits a great cooling power, lowering the human skin temperature by 2.3 °C, which corresponds to a greater than 20% saving on indoor cooling energy. Besides the superior cooling effect, the nanoPE fabric also displays impressive wearability and durability. As a result, nanoPE microfibres represent basic building blocks to revolutionize fabrics for human body cooling and pave an innovative way to sustainable energy.