Nature offers myriad ways of protecting living things from moisture, dryness or cold temperatures. A U.K.-based start-up company, MMT Textiles Ltd., London, England, hopes to offer the same advantages in performance clothing. MMT modeled its new, patented fiber technology after pine cones—common forest shape-shifters that respond to climate conditions by opening or closing.
When conventional fibers become wet, they absorb moisture and swell, reducing the overall porosity of the fabric. “We have developed a textile which functions in the opposite manner,” says Dr. Veronika Kapsali, founding director of MMT. “As it absorbs moisture the textile becomes more porous and in dry conditions the structure opens up like a pine cone, reducing permeability to air and increasing insulation properties.” The bio-responsive fibers and yarns facilitate the release of moisture in clothing—even before the wearer experiences wetness. The technology works well with natural cotton and wool, and is more comfortable than synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics, according to Kapsali. MMT Textiles is seeking collaborative project ideas for the new technology. Visit www.mmttextiles.com for more details.