A novel machine that makes nanostructured fibers could be the key to a new generation of military uniforms that take on active functions such as generating and storing energy.
The fibers can be made of up to three different materials, arranged in regular, nanoscale patterns visible in cross section. (See slide show.) The machine, manufactured by Hills, of West Melbourne, FL, is one of only two in the world capable of producing such fibers, says Stephen Fossey, a researcher at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center, in Natick, MA. The machine is scheduled to be delivered early next year to the Natick facility, where it will serve as the centerpiece of a program geared to making multifunctional uniforms.
Among the machine's many potential uses is assembling fibers that act as rechargeable batteries. Angela Belcher, a professor of biological and chemi
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