It’s not easy to be a winter warrior especially when it is so cold out there that even your sweat starts freezing. Sure one can don many layers of thermals but it would only slow them down. Researchers, however, have just discovered a way to keep a winter soldier warm and light at the same time.
They have come up with a high-performance fabric that can be used as an underwear to keep the troops warm. The fabric was unveiled at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society last August.
Many other such fabrics include nylon, polyester, and some other synthetic fabrics. Fibres of these synthetic fabrics are carefully designed and engineered by scientists, and they do not come from natural sources such as animal hair or plant fibers. Since U.S Army has already been using these synthetic fabrics for soldier’s base layer, gloves, and socks, it almost seemed perfect to use the material for the underwear as well since it sits closest to the skin.
These fabrics have worked well even after several washes and are sustainable for quite some time.
Despite the fabric’s excellent warming abilities, the base layer is no good when it comes to handling sweat. The team is working on hydrogel beads to deal with this problem. A hydrogel is a kind of soaking material that can absorb a lot of water. Its beads are made of polymer with each of its segment having the ability to attract water.
The hydrogel can also be tweaked to act differently under different temperatures. It would soak up all the sweat while the soldier is wearing the fabric and is warm, moving moisture away from the skin and not letting the weather to freeze it. As soon as the soldier takes off the underwear, the outside temperature drops and moisture in hydrogel beads evaporates into thin air and the fabric is good as new.
The Army team is also working on developing warmer gloves and socks with the help of the fabric. The fabric can make the snow-sports even more fun since one does not have to worry about staying warm anymore. Let’s just hope it finds its way into civilian clothing too. Someday!