University of Southern Queensland develops wearable cooling technology

University of Southern Queensland

The University of Southern Queensland has received $428,541 through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects scheme to investigate the development of wearable cooling technology.  

The grant will continue the work of The University of Southern Queensland’s Energy Materials professor Zhi-Gang Chen, who is developing wearable thermoelectric materials and devices with high cooling performance for personal heat management. 

“This is an outstanding result for the university and demonstrative of our research excellence in the field of advanced engineering, and I congratulate Professor Chen,” University of Southern Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said. 

Chen is using his expertise in functional materials to help place Australia at the forefront of the wearable electronics and garment industry. 

“Thermoregulation has substantial implications for energy consumption and human comfort and health,” he said. 

University of Southern Queensland
Energy Materials professor Zhi-Gang Chen.

“Personal heat management includes personal cooling, heating, heat insulation and temperature adjustment functions, which are more flexible and extensive than traditional air/liquid cooling suits for the human body. 

“We’re taking a novel assembly approach to engineer thermoelectric materials with unique structures and chemistry,” Chen said. 

“We’re working towards cost-effective, eco-friendly and wearable thermoelectrics that can be integrated with wool or fabrics to form smart textiles.” 

The approved ARC Linkage projects, including Chen’s wearable cooling technology, will have real-world benefits for Australians, federal minister for Education Alan Tudge said. 

“These are exciting research projects, looking at everything from how we can better design schools and encourage more blood donations, right through to improving agricultural practices and developing new laser technology for space and defence applications,” Tudge said. 

“I would love to see many of these projects culminate in world-first breakthroughs or new products that change the way we live, work and communicate.” 

Learn about the University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences at www.usq.edu.au/research. 

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