Auburn studies "cool" material - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Auburn studies "cool" material

By Elizabeth White - bio | email | Twitter

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - How would you like to put on a jacket and almost instantly feel 10 degrees cooler? This technology is out there and Auburn University's thermal lab is figuring out how to use it.

"It looks like tin foil that's been run over by a lawnmower," that's how Auburn thermal expert Dr. David Pascoe describes "therma-cool".

When worn, it feels like someone is blowing cool air all over your body. The loose weave blocks radiant heat, the aluminum reflects heat. The material acts like a radiator, using air flow, to cool the body.

We tested the material by taking a thermal image of a student's hand at 32-degrees Celsius . Then we wrapped his hand in therma-cool for 30 seconds. We removed the material and took another scan. The temperature was 30-degrees Celsius. That's a two-degree Celsius drop or a four-degree Fahrenheit drop.

"It's difficult to tell somebody I'm going to put something on to help you stay cool," Dr. Pascoe explained.

Therma-cool capes are worn by Auburn athletes to help prevent dehydration and improve performance.

Animals can also benefit. The material already covers the carrier of Auburn's eagle mascot -- making it at least 10 degrees cooler on a hot day. Dr. Pascoe is speaking with Montgomery Zoo officials about ways to use the material to cool zoo animals.

Dr. Pascoe says the applications for cooling humans, animals and plants are endless -- like those long, hot days of summer.

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