For the average person, if you get caught in a heavy rain, your carefully combed hairstyle is likely to be “back to square one” (straight hair or waves). Recently, however,media reported that scientists at Harvard University claim to have invented a new type of wool-like fiber fabric that is characterized by the ability to change and remember shapes.
Researchers at Harvard University’s John Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) are understood to have created a new type of fiber material.
In one conceived example, the researchers hope it could be used to design an equal-size fit T-shirt, bra or underwear. This new garment automatically shrinks or stretches to provide the most suitable size for a specific shape for an individual.
The secret behind the magical material lies in keratin, a protein found in hair and nails. Scientists extracted keratin from recycled wool and then shaped it into a specific shape through a 3D printer.
If the video shows, the researchers 3D printed a star-shaped origami and rolled it up and put it in water. Before long, you’ll find that it’s back to its original shape.
Wool-like material can remember and change shape (via)
Study author Luca Cera, a bioengineer at Harvard University, says the material is suitable for a wide range of applications, from textile to tissue engineering. Study senior author Kit Parker added:
Through this project, we have demonstrated not only that wool can be recycled, but that new products can be made in ways that have never been imagined before, and the impact on the sustainability of natural resources is also evident.
By using recycled keratin, we are able to cut more wool, thereby reducing the environmental impact of the textile and fashion industries.
Details of the study have been published in the recently published journal Nature Materials.
Originally published as A bioinspired and hierarchically structured shape-memory material.