REN Jie's team collaborate on the paper "Designing Heat Transfer Pathways for Advanced Thermoregulatory Textiles" published in Materials Today Physics

March 29, 2021

Professor REN Jie's team at the Center for Acoustics and Thermal Sciences in the School of Physics Sciences and Engineering, in collaboration with researchers from Donghua University and the University of Colorado, jointly published a review "Designing Heat Transfer Pathways for Advanced Thermoregulatory Textiles" in Materials Today Physics. The paper reveals that the essence of realizing advanced thermoregulatory textiles is the modulation of heat transfer pathways between the human body and its surroundings from a physical perspective. It also summarizes and discusses the latest standpoints in the development of cooling, warming and dual-mode (cooling-warming switch) applications in textiles.

Textiles provide us not only with a thermal comfort, but also protect the body from insects. With the development of science and technology and the improvement in people's living standards, people have come to expect higher standards in the thermal comfort of textiles. Thermal comfort is closely associated with multiple heat transfer pathways between the skin, the textiles themselves, and the external environment. However, traditional textiles cannot effectively suppress the human heat dissipation in cold conditions, and also play limited roles in improving the heat dissipation in hot conditions. Consequently, numerous efforts are rapidly emerging to explore advanced thermoregulatory textiles, including cooling, warming and dual-mode textile applications. Moreover, the rapid development in advanced thermoregulatory textiles is not only a historic change in the textile industry, but also a great leap forward in the sustainable development of energy. As such, personal thermal management technologies also serve as an effective way to address the current energy shortage.

In the review, the authors summarize the development of this important field from a unique perspective of heat transfer pathways in the human body. They have conducted extensive literature research and found that most of the current studies focus on designing the physical properties of fabrics to achieve body heat regulation, such as emissivity, reflectivity and transmittance related to thermal radiation, and thermal conductivity related to heat conduction. Therefore, the study focuses on the two main transfer pathways of the human body, heat radiation and heat conduction, and also considers the effect of equivalent heat transfer under thermal convection. The article begins with a brief overview of the theoretical foundations of personal thermal management involved in thermal management textiles, such as human thermal comfort, heat radiation, heat conduction, and the theory of heat transfer between the body, the textiles and the environment. In addition, the review analyzes and summarizes the mainstream research carried out so far and its development timeline, physical mechanisms that are behind current advanced thermal management textiles. Based on this, the article analyzes the current challenges of the field, such as biologically inspired design and artificial intelligence-assisted inverse design.

Prof. REN Jie from Tongji University, Prof. DING Bin from Donghua University and Prof. LI Baowen from the University of Colorado are the corresponding authors of the article. The graduate students LAN Xiaohua and WANG Yi from the School of Physics Science and Engineering are the first authors. In addition, Prof. SI Yang from Donghua University and the postdoctoral student PENG Jiebin from the School of Physics Science and Engineering of Tongji University also made important contributions to the paper. The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee, and the Shanghai Key Laboratory of Special Artificial Microstructure Materials and Technologies Project.

Link to the paper: