A team of researchers from the university of Maryland, writing in the journal science, have developed a fabric that can automatically adjust its temperature and humidity to create "smart" clothing.
The fabric is made of special yarn covered with conductive carbon nanotubes.
The yarn is made of two composites, one that absorbs water and the other that repels it.
When the body sweats causing warmth and moisture, the fabric allows more thermal radiation to pass through.
When cold and dry, fabrics reduce heat escape.
Under wet conditions, the fibers in the fabric will curl, thus opening the holes in the fabric and changing the electromagnetic coupling effect of the carbon nanotubes to "release" the thermal radiation in the body.
This change can occur quickly, allowing for cooling before people realize the heat.
Conversely, when the body temperature drops, this mechanism can block thermal radiation and keep the body warm.