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Insulating material inspired by squid skin

Swatches | July 1, 2022 | By:

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) have invented a new insulation material inspired by cephalopod (squid) skin. The innovation is an infrared-reflecting metallized polymer film developed in the laboratory of Alon Gorodetsky, UCI associate professor. The composite material regulates heat by means of reconfigurable metal structures that can reversibly separate from one another and come back together under different strain levels. 

According to Gorodetsky, “The mechanism is analogous to chromatophore expansion and contraction in a squid’s skin, which alters the reflection and transmission of visible light.” 

A key breakthrough of this project was the UCI researchers’ development of a cost-effective production method of their composite material at application-relevant quantities. It could be used to insulate beverage containers, restaurant to-go bags, parcel boxes and even shipping containers. Photo: © Ribe,

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