Scientists Create Bacteria-Laden Fabric Capable of Evaporating Sweat

Scientific developments come in many strange and unusual forms. One particular team of researchers has successfully used bacteria to ventilate sweaty clothing. It is an interesting development many people will appreciate. Then again, does anyone want to run around with a shirt full of bacteria to begin with? The answer to that question remains unknown for now, but it is certainly true this technology will not go by unnoticed.

Bacteria-laden Fabrics Remove Moisture While Sweating

It sounds like a very interesting idea to create clothing which does not get soaked with sweat. Whether you are exercising or reside in a humid climate, sweat is incredibly annoying to deal with. Getting rid of this moisture is quite problematic even though we have “breathable” garments at our disposal already. Scientists and researchers are always looking to take things one step further. It seems they may have come up with an ingenious solution, albeit one that will certainly gross out a lot of people as well.

A recent experiment shows how creating a shape-shifting bacteria can be quite valuable in this regard. Although shape-shifting bacteria are nothing new in science, their use cases are seemingly unlimited. This particular bacteria was created by Mining Yao and Wen Wang, and has been modified in such a way as to be introduced to clothing in order to get rid of excess moisture. This is achieved by attaching bacterial protein to a fabric, which turns it into moisture-sensitive material. As a result, your clothes have two layers: the fabric layer we wear on the skin and a protein layer on top of that.

While developing the bacteria protein was a big challenge in its own way, the researchers had to come up with a fabric that would allow the bacteria to be used to its full potential. The bacteria is designed in such a way that the top layer shrinks in response to dry conditions and the whole thing bends up. As we all know, sweat is created as a result of rising body temperature. Providing ventilation for that particular situation is not so straightforward. However, thanks to the ease with which these bacteria can be produced, the team has had a lot of room to experiment with various solutions.

Thanks to the help of a 3D printer, the team layered bacterial cells onto latex sheets, and the material swiftly curled toward the bacterial side of things. As that was not the desired outcome, they needed to change their strategy. They went ahead and printed bacteria on both sides of the fabric, which allowed the material to better respond to room conditions. Unfortunately, that was not the best idea either, as the material kept bending outward when it encountered moisture.

In the end, a triple-layer fabric had to be created. This resulted in responsive ventilation on the back of a shirt. After some thorough analysis, the vents opened up, allowing the sweat to successfully dissipate and the wearer’s body temperature to lower accordingly. The experience of wearing the fabric feels pretty natural, all things considered, as the air flow seemingly comes from the back of the garment. It cools the body and prevents the shirt from absorbing one’s sweat, which is significant. Evaporation of moisture is a far better solution compared to anything else.

It also appears the same team is developing a similar solution which will be applied to shoes, although that is still in the early prototype stages. Adding responsive vents to the sole of a shoe could help one’s feet to “breathe.” It will not necessarily repel large amounts of water when it is raining, but for sports purposes, it could prove to be an effective solution. Commercializing both of these products will still require time, though, and there is no official ETA as to when either of these products will come to market.