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科学家开发出“空调型”智能服装

张微

2015年06月10日08:40    来源:中国科技网    手机看新闻
原标题:科学家开发出“空调型”智能服装

  中国科技网6月2日报道(张微 编译)想象一下,一件衣服能够让你的身体保持在一个舒适的温度上,无论它实际上是冷还是热。这就是加州大学圣地亚哥分校一个工程项目要达到的目标,这个项目获得了美国能源部高级研究计划局260万美元的资助。穿上这种智能服装能够降低建筑和住宅的供暖和空调费用。

  这个项目的名称是ATTACH(自主冷却和加热的自适应纺织技术),是在加州大学圣地亚哥分校纳米工程专业特聘教授约瑟夫 王领导下进行的。

  通过调节一个人附近,而不是整间房子的温度,智能服装至少能够削减建筑物和家庭能源消耗量的15%,王指出。

  “当只有一两个人在一个大房子里面的时候,加热或冷却整个房间很不划算,”王说。“如果你能进行局部加热或冷却,就好像你在车里,只加热汽车座椅而不是提高车内温度,你就可以节省大量的能源。”

  智能服装通过适应房间里温度的变化,设计成调节穿着者的体感温度,让温度保持在93° F。当房间温度变冷时,服装会变厚。当房间温度升高时,服装会变薄。要完成这一非凡业绩,研究人员将在智能服装里插入冷涨热缩的聚合物。

  “不管周围的温度升高还是降低,用户不需要调节温控器也会始终感觉如沐春风,”王说。

  “93° F对大多数人来说都是舒适的皮肤温度,” Renkun Chen补充到,他是加州大学圣地亚哥分校机械和航空航天工程助理教授,也是这个项目的合作者。

  Chen对这个项目的贡献是,开发了被称为热电材料的冷却和加热的辅助装置,这个设备是可以打印的,而且可以植入到智能服装的特定位置。热电材料能够调节“热点”,如背部和脚底等部位的温度,当一个人比较活跃时,这些部位的温度比身体其它部位要高。

  “这就好像是一个个性化的空调或加热器,”Chen说。

  “随着智能服装的出现,你就不需要在冬季把房间弄得好像夏天一样热,在夏天把房间温度降低的和冬天一样凉快。智能服装意味着降低了能源的消耗。而且,不管温差有多大,你仍然会感到舒适,” Chen说。

  研究人员还设计了自主供能的智能服装。这个服装包括能够给热电材料供能的可充电电池,以及能够从人体汗液中获得电力的生物燃料电池。此外,所有的配件——电池,热电材料和生物电池,都可以利用Wang的实验室中开发的可打印穿戴设备技术进行打印。这些配件也非常薄,具有伸缩性和灵活性,确保智能服装不显得笨重。

  “我们的目标是制造外观和感觉都与人们日常衣服一样的智能服装。它可以洗涤,伸缩,弯曲,而且重量轻。我们也希望让智能服装具有吸引力,穿着更时尚,”王说。

  在价格方面,研究团队还没有确定智能服装的成本。这要取决于生产规模,但是Wang实验室的打印技术可以低成本地生产配件。降低成本是一个主要目标,研究人员说。

  英文原文:

  Engineers win grant to make smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating

  Imagine a fabric that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature—regardless of how hot or cold it actually is. That's the goal of an engineering project at the University of California, San Diego, funded with a $2.6M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E). Wearing this smart fabric could potentially reduce heating and air conditioning bills for buildings and homes.

  The project, named ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating), is led by Joseph Wang, distinguished professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego.

  By regulating the temperature around an individual person, rather than a large room, the smart fabric could potentially cut the energy use of buildings and homes by at least 15 percent, Wang noted.

  "In cases where there are only one or two people in a large room, it's not cost-effective to heat or cool the entire room," said Wang. "If you can do it locally, like you can in a car by heating just the car seat instead of the entire car, then you can save a lot of energy."

  The smart fabric will be designed to regulate the temperature of the wearer's skin—keeping it at 93° F—by adapting to temperature changes in the room. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter, the fabric will become thinner. To accomplish this feat, the researchers will insert polymers that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat inside the smart fabric.

  "Regardless if the surrounding temperature increases or decreases, the user will still feel the same without having to adjust the thermostat," said Wang.

  "93° F is the average comfortable skin temperature for most people," added Renkun Chen, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego, and one of the collaborators on this project.

  Chen's contribution to ATTACH is to develop supplemental heating and cooling devices, called thermoelectrics, that are printable and will be incorporated into specific spots of the smart fabric. The thermoelectrics will regulate the temperature on "hot spots"—such as areas on the back and underneath the feet—that tend to get hotter than other parts of the body when a person is active.

  "This is like a personalized air-conditioner and heater," said Chen.

  "With the smart fabric, you won't need to heat the room as much in the winter, and you won't need to cool the room down as much in the summer. That means less energy is consumed. Plus, you will still feel comfortable within a wider temperaturerange," said Chen.

  The researchers are also designing the smart fabric to power itself. The fabric will include rechargeable batteries, which will power the thermoelectrics, as well as biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat. Plus, all of these parts—batteries, thermoelectrics and biofuel cells—will be printed using the technology developed in Wang's lab to make printable wearable devices. These parts will also be thin, stretchable and flexible to ensure that the smart fabric is not bulky or heavy.

  "We are aiming to make the smart clothing look and feel as much like the clothes that people regularly wear. It will be washable, stretchable, bendable and lightweight. We also hope to make it look attractive and fashionable to wear," said Wang.

  In terms of price, the team has not yet concluded how much the smart clothing will cost. This will depend on the scale of production, but the printing technology in Wang's lab will offer a low-cost method to produce the parts. Keeping the costs down is a major goal, the researchers said.

(责编:赵竹青、马丽)


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