An air-conditioned fabric inspired by a Moth!

The Madagascar comet moth's cocoon fibers has exceptional capabilities to reflect sunlight and to transmit optical signals and images. New methods are being developed to spin artificial fibers mimicking the natural fibers' nano-structures and optical properties.

Researchers from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science have discovered that fibers produced by the caterpillars of a wild silk moth, the Madagascar comet moth (Argema mittrei), are far superior in terms of brilliance and cooling ability. Not only do the comet moth's cocoon fibers have outstanding cooling properties, they also have exceptional capabilities for transmitting light signals and images.

These bio-inspired fibers thus developed could be used for making ultra-thin summer clothing with "air conditioning" properties. Just a few layers of the fibers could make a totally opaque textile that is a fraction of a sheet of paper in thickness. Yet it wouldn't become translucent when the wearer sweats, which is a common problem with conventional textiles.

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