Whilst thermals and base layers have been engineered for a variety of purposes, one university research team claims they have created a base layer material that can protect against mosquito bites without the need for insecticide.
The team at North Carolina State University published their findings in the journal Insects, stating that they used a computer model to explore how the deadly mosquito Aedes aegypti bites, including by exploring the dimensions of its head, mouth and antennae.
This particular mosquito is known as the “yellow fever mosquito” and is infamous for carrying not only this deadly disease, as well as dengue fever and Zika.
They created some test materials using this model and tested them against live (but disease-free) mosquitos, and through a range of tests of different material thicknesses and pore sizes found a thin, form-fitting material that could protect against 100 per cent of bites.
Initially, there were problems with the material stretching and deforming across the shoulders and back, which led to early prototypes allowing seven bites on the back and shoulders when sitting and standing in a cage with 200 ravenous mosquitoes.
They doubled the thickness of the material around the shoulders and this prevented the deformity and thus the bites.
The intention of the team, who have formed a start-up with a license to the patent for the material, is to create work clothes, military underlayers and general hiking clothes that protect from mosquito bites, with an eye to protect from other common pests in the future.