Scientists develop radical new insulation based on polar bears’ FUR 

Scientists develop radical new insulation for buildings and planes – and it’s based on polar bears’ FUR

  • Scientists make an insulator from millions of hollowed-out carbon tubes 
  • They found it was hardly affected by water and extraordinarily stretchy
  • Researchers found the polar bear based design was more resistant to heat flow 
  • A polar bear relies on fat, skin and fur to protect it from sub-zero temperatures 

With its ability to lock in heat, polar bear fur is inspiring the next generation of insulation for buildings and aviation.

The predator relies on its fat, skin and fur to protect it from sub-zero temperatures.

Unlike other mammals’ hair, their hairs are hollow. The shape and spacing of these cavities are responsible for polar bears’ white coats but they also have an ability to retain heat.

Compared to other such blocks and insulation components, they found the polar bear-inspired design was lighter and more resistant to heat flow, hardly affected by water and extraordinarily stretchy [File photo]

Now scientists have developed such an insulator by making millions of hollowed-out carbon tubes. They then wound them into a spaghetti-like porous block.

Compared to other such blocks and insulation components, they found the polar bear-inspired design was lighter and more resistant to heat flow, hardly affected by water and extraordinarily stretchy.

Researcher Professor Shu-Hong Yu, from the University of Science and Technology of China, told the journal Chem: ‘Biomimetic hollow structures inspired by polar bear hair have increasingly become one of the most promising candidates for many applications.

‘By making tube aerogel out of carbon tubes, we can design an analogous elastic and lightweight material that traps heat without degrading noticeably over its lifetime.’

The next step will be scaling up from a one centimetre patch to create a material composed of many hairs for the architecture and aerospace sectors.

Unlike other mammals’ hair, their hairs are hollow. The shape and spacing of these cavities are responsible for polar bears’ white coats but they also have an ability to retain heat  [File photo]

Unlike other mammals’ hair, their hairs are hollow. The shape and spacing of these cavities are responsible for polar bears’ white coats but they also have an ability to retain heat  [File photo]

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