The science behind the suits of ‘Dune’
There’s some real science in the science fiction in the new movie “Dune,” based on the long-popular novel. Characters in the film wear protective suits to help them cope more comfortably with their planet’s challenging environment. Such attire most definitely demonstrates the application of thermal dynamics and materials engineering, says mechanical engineer and Fulton Schools Associate Professor Konrad Rykaczewski. His research has involved formulating concepts for clothing, designs and materials for very hot places like southern Arizona, where the climate is much like that of the desert planet Arrakis in “Dune.” The movie characters’ clothing shields them from much of the heat on the planet while also cooling them down and helping recycle moisture from their bodies. Rykaczewski and others involved in work similar to his engineering pursuits are developing clothing with some of the same capabilities — not only for people on Earth but, for instance, as highly functional outfits for space traveling astronauts.