Penguine Effect


Penguins withstand extreme cold for up to 120 days without food and are able to dive 50m into freezing waters to hunt for fish. Penguine coats have evolved to enable these two extremes, the feather coat is designed to switch from a highly efficient insulator to a smooth and waterproof skin. The functionality is controled primarily by a muscle attached to the shaft of the feather, when the muscle is locked down the coat becomes a water-tight barrier and when released the coat transforms itself into a thick air filled insulating windproof coat.

The insulation properties of the penguin coat adapt by varying the volume of air trapped within the system by drawing the feather towards the skin when the waterproof functionality is required and releasing it when the penguin needs to be kept warm.

MMT Textiles have just been awarded Innovate UK funding to  developing an adaptive non-woven textile using InotekTM fiber to create a 4D insulation textile systems. Such textiles will enable the creation of a new class of outerwear garment able to alter its themal and airflow properties in relation to the wearer's microclimate. In the first instance, we envision this technology to impact the design and technology of garments for outdoor activities especially for individuals with limited mobility due to age or disability who find  activities such as adding or remove layers of clothes challenging. 

Inotek TM Fibers in damp (right) and dry (left) state

Inotek TM Fibers in damp (right) and dry (left) state

MMT InotekTM G3 fibre drying out. The sample is a cluster of Inotek fibres that have been conditioned in a jar containing saturated salt solution to create damp- (not wet) conditions. The video shows, in real time, how the fibres drie out and lengthen in ambient conditions.