Cooling Shirt

High-tech fabrics cool you down when it heats up.

Manufacturers offer many products that keep you cool, including pillows and blankets. Cooling textiles, unlike heated versions, have no system inside.

What’s the secret to this product? These products can lower your temperature without using fancy technology. Are they effective?

Different types of cooling technologies

The history of cooling fabric dates back to the early days of NASA when scientists were trying to figure out how textiles could affect someone in a spacesuit. Jim Ross is senior vice president of product design at American Textile Company and maker of Tranquility-weighted blankets.

NASA uses other technology to cool astronauts. This includes cooling panels filled with liquid and a network of narrow tubes connected to a backpack refrigeration unit. This is far from the sleek, athletic-inspired shirts and shorts offered today, such as Nike DriFIT or Adidas Climacool.

Ross states that many cooling methods can be used in conjunction with textiles. You can divide them into two categories: temperature balance and temperature abatement.

Fabrics that cool by temperature balance are wicking fabrics. Nike explains how its DriFIT fabric wicks away sweat to help it evaporate more quickly. Adidas Cli-cool clothing functions in the same way.

These fabrics are usually treated with polyester. This is a long chain of organic molecules made from smaller molecules called monomers. Your body generates heat and humidity, which activates the polymer finish. This then moves moisture away from the fabric’s surface, whether it is an athletic shirt or leggings.

Ross says, “It’s all about boosting humidity.evaporation.” Ross compares temperature balance with the coolness experienced after a shower when the water (or humidity) evaporates.

Temperature abatement works by actually transferring heat. This is the technology behind American Textile Company’s Tranquility weighted blanket. The way that the textile is treated will determine how cooling affects it.

The textile feels cool when it is temperature-abated. The conductivity of the fabric’s yarn is what makes it cool. It is highly conductive polyethene (PE). While wicking technology is a treatment that is applied to fabric, here, the yarn itself is made cool. PE yarn quickly transfers heat away from the surfaces.

Ross explained that transferring is similar to how different fabrics, wood, and metal feel to touch. For example, if you have three samples, the metal will feel colder to the touch, even though the ambient temperature is the same. However, metal and other materials like it will retain heat faster than others, resulting in a cooling sensation. This is how PE yarn works.

Cool-to-the-touch blanket made from a PE yarn that is heat-conductive. It absorbs body heat and displaces heat to create cooling effects. Do you see a trend? Both cases are caused by transference, where heat or humidity is transferred from your body.

While we mentioned two methods to categorize cooling technology, there is a third: Phase change material (PCM). This substance can change depending on temperature. It can either absorb heat or release it. It can regulate heat in textiles and mattresses.

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