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MIT Researchers Generate New Material Responsive to Temperature

MIT researchers have developed a new material which automatically reacts to changes in temperature. The group of researchers, Athina Papadopoulou, Hannah Lienhard, Jared Laucks, and Skylar Tibbits, have worked on the enhancement of the characteristics of typical Auxetic materials which expand in all directions when stretched, unlike conventional materials which expand and thin only in the direction of the applied force.

Courtesy of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab

The resulting active material, fabricated at the MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, can automatically respond to changes in temperature by expanding at high temperature and contracting at low temperature. It does not require human intervention to activate. The material is meant to be, mainly, used in the fashion industry. It will act as a lining for fabric, which can adapt to the surrounding temperature so that its pores will tighten when it is cold and relax when it is hot.

Courtesy of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab

This new technology is not the first in the field of fabric and fashion design. It has been preceded by innovations like Hussein Chalayan’s foldable clothing and Issey Miyake’s 3D Steam Stretch fabric. It, also, follows the MIT’s former contribution to the field, via the institute’s Media Lab, which has incorporated bacteria in the manufacturing of a special fabric which reacts to sweat and humidity by peeling back from the human skin.

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