What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes — while significantly reducing your electric bill and carbon footprint?
Engineers at Rutgers and Oregon State University have found a cost-effective way to make thin, durable heating patches by using intense pulses of light to fuse tiny silver wires with polyester. Their heating performance is nearly 70 percent higher than similar patches created by other researchers, according to a Rutgers-led study in Scientific Reports.
They are inexpensive, can be powered by coin batteries and are able to generate heat where the human body needs it since they can be sewed on as patches.
“This is important in the built environment, where we waste lots of energy by heating buildings — instead of selectively heating the human body,” said senior author Rajiv Malhotra, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The department is in the School of Engineering.
It is estimated that 47 percent of global energy is used for indoor heating, and 42 percent of that energy is wasted to heat empty space and objects instead of people, the study notes. Solving the global energy crisis — a major contributor to global warming — would require a sharp reduction in energy for indoor heating.
Read more at Rutgers University