Chinese researchers develop thermal fibers mimicking polar bear fur-Xinhua

Chinese researchers develop thermal fibers mimicking polar bear fur

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-12-25 15:49:30

HANGZHOU, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Researchers in east China's Zhejiang Province have developed an ultra-warm, lightweight and durable aerogel fiber by mimicking the structure of polar bear fur.

Scientists from Zhejiang University's College of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering were involved in this research.

Polar bears have fur that has a porous core encapsulated in a dense shell, a structure that keeps the animals warm and dry at even minus 40 degrees Celsius but is relatively lightweight, said Bai Hao, a leading professor in chemical and biological engineering, adding that the shell is about 20 micrometers, which is nearly one-fourth of the bear's hair diameter.

By mimicking the core-shell structure, scientists encapsulated the aerogel fiber with a stretchable layer, providing possibilities for developing multifunctional aerogel fibers and textiles.

Compared with traditional aerogel fibers, the strength and flexibility of the new fiber are greatly enhanced, allowing for weaving or knitting into a wearable fabric. Tests show that a sweater knitted with the fiber was roughly one-third to one-fifth as thick as a down jacket, with similar performance, Bai added.

The study was published in the journal Science in December.