GCSE Design and Technology: Smart fabric inspired by pinecones

Scientist Veronika Kapsali presents her research into pinecones, and how it is helping her design a fabric that automatically cools the wearer if they get too hot.

Pinecones demonstrate nature’s ability to create change with zero to minimal energy input.

In this instance the cone has died but it still opens and closes in reaction to the changing moisture levels in the environment.

She shows scientist and presenter Fran Scott how the different wood tissue in the pinecone reacts differently to moisture, making it open or close.

Kapsali has developed a fabric that reacts in the same way by combining two fibres: hydrophobic polymers and hydrophilic polymers.

This could potentially be used for sporting and other clothing and would cool the user when required.

Teacher Notes

Use this clip with textile GCSE students to inspire them to consider different combinations of materials to create unique effects.

In addition, use the clip to help students focus on the user and their needs - what people or circumstances require specific features?

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for GCSE Design and Technology and touches upon topics that appear in AQA, OCR A, EDEXCEL, EDUQAS, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.

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