World's First Graphene Jacket Promises to Repel Bacteria and Moisture and Absorb Heat—All for $695

Vollebak
Vollebak

Since graphene won a Nobel Prize in 2010, scientists have been excited about the material's potential. An ultrathin, bi-dimensional form of graphite, graphene is a superconductor that's 200 times stronger than steel and lighter than paper. It could be used to develop sophisticated medical treatments, solar cells, and electronics in the future, but for now, it's being made available to the public in the form of a $695 jacket.

As Fast Company reports, the graphene jacket from Vollebak is the world's first jacket made from the coveted material. The reversible piece of outerwear looks futuristic—with shiny, gray graphene making up one side and nylon composing the other—but the real draw is what it can do.

Graphene is the most conductive material known to science, which means the jacket is gradually warmed by your body heat the longer you wear it. The graphene bonds with the jacket's nylon layer in the production process, lending the fabric its conductive properties, so the jacket absorbs your heat whether you're wearing the nylon or the graphene side against your skin.

Vollebak

Sweat is a different story. Instead of trapping any excess moisture against your body, the jacket disperses it, keeping you warm and dry. It's also incredibly easy to keep clean, due to the fact that it's impossible for bacteria to multiply on graphene.

These unique features aren't the only reasons for the high price tag. Graphene is still difficult and costly to manufacture, which means any commercial product that's made from it will be expensive. But scientists are working hard to make graphene more cost-effective, so an affordable graphene clothing line may be a reality in the future.

[h/t Fast Company]

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What Really Happens When Food Goes Down the 'Wrong Pipe'?

The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
Photo by Adrienn from Pexels

Your average person isn’t expected to be well-versed in the linguistics of human anatomy, which is how we wind up with guns for biceps and noggins for heads. So when swallowing something is followed by throat irritation or coughing, the fleeting bit of discomfort is often described as food “going down the wrong pipe.” But what’s actually happening?

When food is consumed, HuffPost reports, more than 30 muscles activate to facilitate chewing and swallowing. When the food is ready to leave your tongue and head down to your stomach, it’s poised near the ends of two "pipes," the esophagus and the trachea. You want the food to take the esophageal route, which leads to the stomach. Your body knows this, which is why the voice box and epiglottis shift to close off the trachea, the “wrong pipe” of ingestion.

Since we don’t typically hold our breath when we eat, food can occasionally take a wrong turn into the trachea, an unpleasant scenario known as aspiration, which triggers an adrenaline response and provokes coughing and discomfort. Dislodging the food usually eases the sensation, but if it’s enough to become stuck, you have an obstructed airway and can now be officially said to be choking.

The “wrong pipe” can also be a result of eating while tired or otherwise distracted or the result of a mechanical problem owing to illness or injury.

You might also notice that this happens more often with liquids. A sip of water may provoke a coughing attack. That’s because liquids move much more quickly, giving the body less time to react.

In extreme cases, food or liquids headed in the “wrong” direction can wind up in the lungs and cause pneumonia. Fortunately, that’s uncommon, and coughing tends to get the food moving back into the esophagus.

The best way to minimize the chances of getting food stuck is to avoid talking with your mouth full—yes, your parents were right—and thoroughly chew sensible portions.

If you experience repeated bouts of aspiration, it’s possible an underlying swallowing disorder or neurological problem is to blame. An X-ray or other tests can help diagnose the issue.

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