Beyond the slopes, creators of a moisture-managing, sweat-getting ski jacket envision new places for the “electrified” apparel.
How the electro-osmotic material works: When a 1.5-volt shock is applied to the gold-lined HYDRO_BOT fabric, salt ions (and sweat) migrate through the material’s 20-micrometer-wide polymer membrane, electrically attracted away from the skin and to the outside of the jacket.
The HYDRO_BOT technology, a collaboration between the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and the Thalwil, Switzerland-based company Osmotex, mimics the osmosis behavior of a plant that uses its roots to draw water from soil.
“It is the first clothing technology which could match human sweat rates under all conditions,” said Trond Heldal, Director of R&D and Operations at Osmotex AG, who followed up with Tech Briefs earlier this week. “It represents the first membrane with electronically controlled transport, from less than one to hundreds of liters per square meter and hour.”
Are there other uses for this technology, aside from electrified ski jackets?
“Absolutely,” according to Heldal, who sees the fabric as being able to someday support skiers and non-skiers alike.
“The first focus area is apparel,” the R&D director said, “but we meet strong interest from many fields, including work and protective clothing, medical applications like hospital bed covers and wound care, air conditioning systems, microfluidics, cosmetics, and much more, and we are starting projects with corresponding industries.”
What do you think? Will electro-osmosis materials find applications beyond the slopes?