We have discovered smart fabrics and yarns developed for wearable technology around the world.
After the long years of development work, international analysts and market commentators are anticipating a trade in smart textiles worth billions.
Clever textiles – after overcoming numerous problems of infancy such as poor washability or kink resistance, and having passed through the stage of manual prototypes – are now at least on the starting line of (partially automated) mass production for volume market launch. User applications await in fields such as fashion, workwear, medical technology, construction and architecture, as well as the whole mobility sector and digital industry, providing interfaces between humans and machines. All of these target areas are expecting, and expected, to trigger an explosion of innovation in products and processes with smart textile technology.
Researchers have developed a scalable method of producing graphene-based yarn. With this method, one thousand kilograms of graphene yarn can be produced per hour.
Graphene stands out as a good material with its high conductivity and flexibility. Graphene is a material that is very sensitive to changes in the environment, as each atom is in contact with its environment. This makes graphene ideal for sensor fabrication.
One of the obstacles standing in the way of developments in the field of wearable e-textiles was the heavy components required to provide energy. Previously, it was not possible to place these components without compromising the characteristics of the suit or compromising its comfort. That's why devices such as smart watches have come to the fore more.
The yarn, which can be produced in large quantities, is washable, flexible, inexpensive and biodegradable.
Self-charging RFIDs or low-energy Bluetooth can be integrated to send data wirelessly to mobile devices.
BioLogic’s Living Textile
A group of scientists has designed a smart fabric processed with living cells that change shape according to the body's sweat and humidity.
A team of MIT researchers has designed a breathable workout suit with ventilating flaps that open and close in response to an athlete’s body heat and sweat.
These flaps, which range from thumbnail- to finger-sized, are lined with live microbial cells that shrink and expand in response to changes in humidity. The cells act as tiny sensors and actuators, driving the flaps to open when an athlete works up a sweat, and pulling them closed when the body has cooled off.
Turns Kinetic Energy Into Electricity
The researchers have developed an elastic fabric that is turns kinetic energy into electricity. The fabric is flexible, soft and works more efficiently when more weight is placed on it or it’s wet or under a heavy load.
The reason the fabric works better when wet is because the fibers become enclosed in a liquid, improving the electrical contact between each fiber.
The energy harvesting aspect of the fabric is based on the piezoelectric effect, which creates electricity from deformation of a piezoelectric material such as when it’s stretched.
To create the fabric, the team wove a piezoelectric yarn together with an electrically-conducting yarn, which is required to transport the generated electric current. The yarn is comprised of 24 fibers, each one as thin as a strand of hair.
Twistron : Carbon Nanotube
Generates electricity when streched
Scientists from the University of Texas and Hanyang University in South Korea, who conduct research in nanotechnology, have developed a yarn that produces electricity when stretched or twisted. This yarn, a twisted fiber made of gel-coated carbon nanotubes, does not need batteries or any device to generate electricity.
Considering that it is a simple carbon thread, the load that occurs when pulled is surprising. When 1 kilogram of this product vibrates 30 times per second, 250 watts of electricity is obtained. Even that amount is too much to run a desktop computer or a small heater.
The researchers used carbon nanotubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair to produce these state-of-the-art threads.
To make them more flexible, the nanotubes were covered with tapes with extremely compressed threads. Later, it was coated with electrolyte and made to generate electricity.