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SUZHOU – Scientists in China claim to have knitted a sweater from encapsulated aerogel fibres that mimic polar bear fur and give similar thermal insulation properties to down – yet are just one-fifth of the fabric thickness.

Crucially, the textiles derived from these chitosan-derived aerogel fibres are said to be mechanically robust during production, which has been a previous limitation and said to perform well in both dyeing and washing.

Although they’ve been around for decades, aerogels are interesting because they can increase the performance and also lower the environmental impact of textiles. Recently, scientists in Singapore devised a new method to convert waste cotton into aerogels.

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