Newswise – We’ve written here before about reflective clothing thatmakes people seem todisappear.This technology is now beingused for spy planes. But even more innovations are coming:We will soon have clothes that can detect the presence ofchemical weapons, then clean and decontaminate themselves.This research is being funded by the Department of Defense,meaning the clothes you wear in the future may come courtesyof the U.S. military, even if you are not a soldier inuniform!

Smart materials for clothing are becoming a reality and oneof the world’s leading experts in this field is chemistSergiy Minko. By studying the behavior of single moleculesand the assembly of molecules, he is learning how natureassembles and reassembles molecules to achieve specificproperties in materials that can be made into cloth. He hasdiscovered that some natural materials are capable of smartresponses to external stimuli, such as temperature changesor exposure to acids and bases.

The perfect example of this is our own skin, so it’s too badit’s no longer social acceptable to go around naked. “Skinis a good example of a material capable of smart responsesbased on outside stimuli,” Minko says. “The pores open andclose based on temperature and humidity and thus help thebody to regulate its internal temperature.”

One of his current projects is a self-cleaning fabric thatcan be used for awnings and convertible tops.

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