Scientists create smart fabric that makes you smell better when you sweat more

While there’s no way to get your sweaty activewear to smell like flowers and sunshine, you can at least stop worrying about smelling funkier the more you sweat. In fact, with the new smart fabric developed by scientists in Portugal, you’ll have a pleasant lemony scent from here on out.

While companies have found ways to embed fabric with essential oils to give it a scent, developments have allowed combining this idea with advanced technology.

A group of engineers at the University of Minho in Portugal has come up with two highly-effective ways to modify cotton fabric. This allows the cloth to give off the smell of citronella as it comes in contact with sweat. Their developed methods of using sweat to combat sweat are published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

So what did the scientists use to create this high-tech fabric? Protein from pig snouts! (vegans are shaking) The protein from pigs’ noses binds to scent molecules. These are combined with a carbohydrate-binding module to bind it to cotton. The second method involves fat-like liposomes instead of proteins to bind the citronella scent to the smart fabric.

The modified cotton fabric released the scent when exposed to an acidic sweat solution. The first method with the pig nose proteins allowed the fabric to emit “quick burst of scent.” On the other hand, the liposome-treated fabric’s scent release was slower and more controlled.

“Both strategies revealed high potential,” according to the published paper. “Functional textiles incorporating fragrances could be an effective clothing deodorizing product.”

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
Share this