A farewell to the warm summer months is a bit easier, even if the war against mosquito bites comes to an end. They are not just an itch, but mosquitoes can spread dangerous diseases and viruses, but Brown University researchers may have found the perfect mosquito force field: graphene-lined garments.
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And all the scientific news of the last decade unfamiliar with graphene is an apparently wonderful material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice , It is light but 100 times stronger than steel and has been used in portable blood glucose pads, adaptive grip bicycle tires and even stunning optical illusions.
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But in a newspaper published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America researchers at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, detailed how the graphene oxide-lined fabric used they had developed when the barrier to toxic chemicals also protected carriers from mosquito attacks in two different ways.
In the beginning, it was discovered that mosquitoes could not generate enough power for their noses – that's the app endage, with which they puncture the skin and peel off blood – to actually penetrate the thin layer of graphene oxide. It acts as a kind of impenetrable forcefield for their attacks, but it actually works both ways. Mosquitoes can catch chemical signals coming from your skin and alert them to a meal nearby. However, if the subjects wore a thin layer of cheesecloth that was protected with the additional layer of graphene oxide, the mosquitoes not only did not bite, nor did they land on the exposed skin areas. Theoretically, you would not only have to worry about bites while wearing a graphene oxide suit, but also do not worry about mosquitoes annoying your head.
But you have to worry about rain. The graphene oxide material used in this study was an effective mosquito repellent only when completely dry. When wet, its force field properties were virtually worsened. To circumvent this, the researchers found that another form of graphene oxide with reduced oxygen content in the wet or dry state is effective against mosquitoes. However, changing the ingredients also meant that the material was no longer breathable. In other words, you would be safe from mosquitoes but also feel like you are wearing a sauna.
While this is great news for those who want to avoid annoying but harmless mosquitoes, there is much more news from a global health perspective. The World Health Organization estimates that "millions of deaths a year" are caused by mosquitoes that transmit a variety of diseases to humans.
The next step for the research team is to find a way to stabilize the regular graphene oxide protective layer so that it is resistant to all conditions (wet or dry) and at the same time comfortable to wear. If they can do that, they may have created the holy grail of camping clothing.