Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW
Codebreaker

Cotton is so yesterday. Army searches for technologically advanced fabric

Adriene Hill Aug 2, 2011

According to Wired magazine, the Army is in the market for fabric that can change with temperature. “This ‘environmentally responsive’ material would keep a soldier not too hot and not too cold, constantly adjusting to outside conditions as well as body heat.” Pretty neat, right?

Apparently, one way to make this possible, is by creating a fabric made by weaving fibers that contain “two metals bonded together in a tiny spring. As the temperature drops, one metal changes its length more than the other one – resulting in a ‘curl’ in the fiber. If you have a whole shirt made of this stuff, it would actually change thickness as it got colder, providing more insulation and warmth.” For the paper that inspired the Army, check out this PDF.

There’s another requirement for this fabric of the future, a tricky one. It’s got to be able to hold up to army-laundry, at least 20 washes worth.

Photo credit/ www.army.mil

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.