Health Team

NCSU creates clothing with UV protection

Posted August 17, 2011

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— Designing affordable, ultraviolet-resistant clothing that lessens wearers' risk of skin cancer is the goal of North Carolina State University researchers.

The researchers began by imagining clothing that acts like a computer. They developed clothing fibers with a microscopic coating of the same conductive material found on computer chips.

The team discovered another potential benefit – "to be able to impart UV protection on different fabrics," NCSU textile engineering researcher Chris Oldham said.

The fabric coating resists the sun's UV rays, which can prevent fading of outdoor materials such as flags. It might also be used on clothing to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

UV-resistant fabrics already on the market can be expensive.

"They are looking for a more affordable product that will protect them in the sunlight," Oldham said.

Clothing provides UV protection Clothing provides UV protection

Rather than dipping fabrics in an oil-based liquid solution, NCSU researchers heated chemicals into gas form that deposits a coating 1,000 times thinner a human hair. The process might work on a wide range of lightweight, summer-time fabrics.

"What we're trying to do is use greener materials like cotton and recycled polyesters and make those feel the same and also act the same as some of these high-end, UV-resistant fabrics," NCSU textile engineering researcher Jesse Jur said.

In addition to protecting people from the sun, the clothing could be used as a sensor to track heart rate and body temperature in real time.

The NCSU Chancellor's Innovation Fund recently awarded a $75,000 grant to get the technology into the market more quickly.


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  • beth20 Aug 24, 2011

    Thank you WRAL for bringing positive attention to the Textile Engineering department at NC State. We are very lucky to have innovate researchers right here in NC who are working diligently to make our lives better through enhanced UV protective clothing. Although these UV protective textile products have been around for years, it never hurts to have textile researchers improve on what is already available. Additionally, most people have no clue that these textiles exist. Thus, thank you WRAL for letting people know about them. Skin cancer is rampant in North Carolina! Any advances in UV protective textiles that make them more wearable for the public and less expensive will help everyone.

  • packfan27 Aug 24, 2011

    I have the Columbia brand. From what those garmets I've owned and seen at the stores...the fabric is typically heavier than I'd want for a summer time outfit.

    Ya'll should read a little closer, they didn't invent the wheel here...just making it rounder.

    Go Wolfpack!

  • wahjch Aug 23, 2011

    What about the Columbia brand of shirts with UPF protection also branded as OmniShade..I've been using this for a long time.

  • baracus Aug 22, 2011

    "This IS cutting edge technology"

    Look at you Mr. Read-more-than-the-headline!

  • nonPC Aug 22, 2011

    well said wwwalker...NCSU is making things happen! GO PACK!

  • wwwalker Aug 19, 2011

    The story is about a new way of manufacturing UV protective fabrics. This cutting edge technology could lower the cost of UV protective clothing that someday might be used as heart rate monitors and thermometers. Wouldn't it be nice if coaches could see when one of their players was pushing a little too hard? Some kids don't know when to quit. How about a fire chief knowing when one of his firefighters getting too hot?

    This IS cutting edge technology.

  • scientistjo Aug 19, 2011

    How is this novel? My kids have this type of clothing for the beach.

  • patrick85ed Aug 19, 2011

    I have owned and worn this type of clothing for quite a few years now, this is not "New and Exciting" news.

  • redspringssean Aug 19, 2011

    This is cool.

  • 45ACP Aug 18, 2011

    THis is not a new thing.......UV protective clothing has been around for a while.