Bioinspired textile with dual-stimuli responsive wettability for body moisture management and signal expression†
Traditional textiles with hydrophilic properties can absorb sweat secreted from the skin, but cause an undesirable cold sensation and adhere to the skin. Textiles with an effect similar to an air conditioner and sensing properties have attracted great interest because of their desirable performance, comfort, and energy-saving properties. However, fabricating functional textiles with moisture management and pH identification properties remains a difficult challenge. Herein, we demonstrate a fluorine-free hydrophobic loofah fabric with embedded thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) microspheres as microplugs, which endowed it with directional liquid transport and body temperature regulation depending on the temperature. Based on the phase separation of the microplugs and capillary gradients, the microplugs of the self-venting textile are opened and generate drying and cooling effects via high moisture transport in hot weather, whereas the pores of the microplugs close to retain heat in cold weather. Moreover, the multifunctional loofah textile exhibits hydrophobic or hydrophilic behaviour for droplets with different pH values, which can provide real-time liquid signal detection. The water repellency and the wicking, permeability, and mechanical properties of the hydrophobic outer surface of the loofah textile are not affected by harsh conditions. This study not only provides ideas for the design and preparation of textiles for personal comfort, but also environmentally friendly and acid/alkali-protective clothing with great potential applications in demanding situations.