Published on 20 Aug 2021

'Smart' fabric stiffens on demand

Batman's "memory cloth" cape may be a reality in future with this 3D printed special fabric developed by experts in mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing in NTU and Caltech in America.

What's special about this fabric is its ability to soften or stiffen on-demand. This discovery may pave the way for next-generation lightweight armour, which can be useful for police or athletes in high impact sports, and exoskeletons that can help the elderly to "stand, carry loads and assist them with their daily tasks,” said MAE Asst Prof Yifan Wang and the lead author of the paper published in Nature.

The team is also exploring more ways of stiffening the fabric, such as through magnetism, electricity or temperature.

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