Smart Textile

RMIT develops nanodiamond-coated textiles that cool down faster

In today’s world, staying cool and comfortable in hot weather can be a challenge. Traditional clothing materials often trap heat, leading to discomfort and even heatstroke. Researchers at RMIT University are developing a new technology that could revolutionize the way we stay cool: nanodiamonds.

Nanodiamonds are microscopic diamonds that are only a few billionths of a meter in size. Despite their small size, they have unique properties that make them ideal for a variety of applications, including drug delivery, biosensing, and now, textiles.

(L-R) Research supervisor and Senior Lecturer Dr Xin Wang, lead researcher and research assistant Dr Aisha Rehman and project leader and Senior Lecturer Dr Shadi Houshyar. Credit: Cherry Cai, RMIT University

Researchers at RMIT have developed a process for coating cotton fabric with nanodiamonds using a technique called electrospinning. Electrospinning creates a fine mesh of fibers from a liquid solution. In this case, the solution contains nanodiamonds suspended in a solvent. When the solution is exposed to an electric field, the fibers are drawn out and deposited onto the fabric.

The nanodiamonds improve the fabric’s thermal conductivity, which is the ability of a material to transfer heat. This means that heat can more easily escape from the body, keeping the wearer cooler. In tests, the nanodiamond-coated fabric was found to be up to 2 degrees Celsius cooler than untreated cotton fabric.

(L-R) A sample of cotton that has been treated with nanodiamonds next to an untreated sample of cotton. Credit: Cherry Cai, RMIT University

The use of nanodiamonds in textiles has several advantages. First, nanodiamonds are biocompatible, meaning they are not harmful to human skin. This is important for clothing that will be in direct contact with the body. Second, nanodiamonds are relatively inexpensive to produce. This makes it possible to create nanodiamond-coated fabrics that are affordable for consumers.

The development of nanodiamond-coated textiles is a significant breakthrough that could have a major impact on the clothing industry. This technology has the potential to create clothing that is not only more comfortable but also more functional. For example, nanodiamond-coated clothing could be used to create uniforms for athletes and workers who perform physically demanding tasks in hot environments. It could also be used to create clothing for people who suffer from medical conditions that cause them to overheat easily.

The electrospinning machine created a web of nanofibres on the cotton fibres, which are then cured to bond the two. Credit: Cherry Cai, RMIT University

Nanodiamond technology could be used to create heat sinks for electronic devices or to improve the efficiency of solar cells.

The development of nanodiamond-coated textiles is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to change the way we think about clothing. This technology has the potential to create clothing that is more comfortable, functional, and sustainable.

Nanodiamonds have the potential to revolutionize the way we stay cool, protect ourselves from the sun, and even improve the efficiency of electronic devices.

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