Symposium FN
Smart and Interactive Textiles - From Nano-engineered Textile Fibres to Integrated Wearable Systems


FN-1:IL01  Textile Actuation - Its Mechanisms, Potentials and Challenges
N.-K. Persson1, 2, C. Backe1, M. Asadi Miankafshe1, T. Bashir1, 3, E. Jager4, L. Guo1, 1The Swedish School of Textiles, Polymeric E-textiles, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden; 2Smart Textiles Technlogy Lab, Smart Textiles, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden; 3Swedish Centre for Resource Recovery, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden; 4Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Sensor and Actuator Systems, Linköping, Sweden

The actuator community creating materials and devices able to exert force and changing extension and shape is nowadays wide and takes use of a variety of actuating mechanisms. For many of these the exerted forces or strains are small which is a drawback for many potential applications. Recently textile processes have been identified as means for up scaling. This is due to a number of textile characteristics. In the very heart of textile processing are techniques for assembling of many small, elongated, flexible objects (threads or fibers). By textile processes it is also possible to create both parallel and serial coupling. We discuss the importance of both of these tracks and the potentials and challenges for textile actuation in general. We show the usefulness of weaving for stress and knitting for strain amplification. Actuators are energy transforming systems and both those taking use of surrounding energy, suitable for stand-alone solutions, and those more precisely controlled by external powering are exemplified. Effective production is another issue the actuator field is facing. The textile community offers production of structures at low cost, high speed, with high precision and repeatability, thus offering a potential answer.

FN-2:IL01  Energy Harvesting and Storage with Electronic Textiles
T. Hughes-Riley, A. Satharasinghe, N. Abeywickrama, M. Kgatuke, T. Dias, Advanced Textiles Research Group, School of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

The Achilles heel of electronics textiles (E-textiles) are their power requirements; with most E-textiles utilising battery packs which can be heavy, bulky, or require frequent recharging.  An alternative is to integrate an energy harvesting capability into the textile to limit the need for in-built energy storage.  Solar energy provides a readily-available source of power and solar energy harvesting textiles have received significant attention in the literature, however many of the techniques used to integrate the solar energy harvesting capabilities with textile can significantly affecting the textile characteristics including the look and feel. By using electronic yarn (E-yarn) technology small-scale solar cells can be incorporated into the core of textile yarns. By distributing the solar cells throughout the fabric, textile properties such as moisture transfer and drape are maintained.  E-yarn technology has also been used to incorporate small-scale supercapacitors into yarns to provide energy storage capability. This work presents innovative energy harvesting and storage textiles and demonstrates the mechanical and wash durability of the solar cell embedded yarns and resultant fabrics when subjected to conditions that they would encounter during regular use.

FN-2:IL02  Nanostructured Coatings for the Functionalization of Textiles
M. Avella1, R. Avolio1, R. Castaldo1, M. Cocca1, F. De Falco1, M.E. Errico1, M. Lavorgna2, G. Gentile1, 1Institute for Polymers Composites and Biomaterials - National Research Council of Italy, Pozzuoli (NA), Italy; 2Institute for Polymers Composites and Biomaterials - National Research Council of Italy, Portici (NA), Italy

One of the most promising strategy to functionalize both synthetic and natural textile fabrics is the application of nanostructured coatings. The key factors of this functionalization strategy are the proper design of the coating in terms of composition and application process and the fine control of the coating structure at the sub-micrometric scale. In this contribution, different strategies are presented able to realize nanostructured coatings onto textile substrates. In particular, the contribution is focused on electrically conductive coatings and patterns realized by the application of graphene derivatives, such as graphene oxide (GO) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP). For GO based coatings, sustainable reduction processes are presented and discussed. The effect of the coating composition and the application conditions on morphological, mechanical and electrically conductive properties of the substrates are reported. Finally, the durability of the functionalized textiles is discussed, showing that suitable treatments are able to improve the resistance of the applied coatings to repeated washing cycles.
Acknowledgments. Work supported by Italian MIUR under grant ARS01_00996 TEX-STYLE – New smart and sustainable multi-sectorial textiles for creative design and Made in Italy

FN-2:IL03  The Integration of Electronic Sensors and Systems into Textiles to Create the Next Generation of E-Textiles
R. Torah, A. Komolafe, K. Yang, Y. Li, J. Tudor, S. Beeby, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

This presentation describes a range of work from the University of Southampton discussing the applications and manufacturing challenges associated with the combination of textiles and electronics. This combination allows for advances in a number of key application areas, such as healthcare, automotive, fashion, military and the creative industries. Textiles are ubiquitous in everyday life for both comfort and protection in the form of clothing but also as structural or aesthetic elements such as in automotive and architectural applications. This presentation describes a number of demonstrators for use in these broad fields and the manufacturing techniques used to fabricate them. Techniques such as screen, inkjet and dispenser printing alongside our latest work on weaving and embroidery of electronics into textiles.

FN-2:IL04  A Hybrid Textile Electrode for Simultaneous Wireless ECG and Body Motion Measurement
G.K. Stylios, Xiang An, Heriot Watt University, Research Institute for Flexible Materials, Galashiels, Selkirkshire, UK

A hybrid textile electrode for electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement and motion tracking is introduced which consists of two parts: A textile electrode for ECG monitoring, and a body motion tracking sensor. Material properties and electrode size are the main factors that affect the skin-electrode impedanceduring the performance of the ECG The characteristics of the optimum electrode were established in terms of material properties, morphology and size. The motion sensor is micropackaged in a flexible PCB assembly and integrated with the electrode. Performance data shows that the hybrid textile electrode is capable of recording ECG and motion signals synchronously, and is suitable for ECG measurement and motion tracking end uses.

FN-2:IL11  Thin-film Electronics on Large-area Plastic Substrates for e-textiles
N. Münzenrieder, Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bozen, Italy

Everyday textiles worn close to the human body provide an ideal platform for the unobtrusive measurement of physiological signals or to act as interface for wearables. However, the integration of conventional electronics into fabrics negatively effects the textiles’ aesthetics and feel. Contrary, entirely flexible electronics are significantly better suited as such devices can adapt to the extreme deformations which occur during the fabrication or the use of textiles. In this context, the fabrication of active oxide-based thin-film electronics on flexible polymer substrates, providing excellent mechanical and electrical performance, proved to be a promising technology. Here, different approaches to combine such thin-film devices with textiles are described: The replacement of individual weft yarns by functionalized plastic strips can be done using commercial weaving machines and allows the simulations integration of interconnections in warp direction. Alternatively, the coating of individual fibers with ultra-thin (1 µm) devices enables the nearly invisible integration of electronics. Finally, embedding flexible devices within yarns, is compatible with industrial yarn manufacturing techniques such as knit braiding, and adds an additional protection layer to the electronics.

FN-3:IL01  Finishing Treatments of Synthetic Fabrics to Reduce Microplastic Release During Washings
M. Cocca, F. De Falco, G. Gentile, R. Avolio, M.E. Errico, E. Di Pace, M. Avella, Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials, National Research Council of Italy, Pozzuoli, NA, Italy

Microplastics have been recently identified as one of the most concerning new class of pollutants, extensively found in various environments. They have been defined as plastic fragments smaller than 5 mm, coming from several sources. The main source of microplastic pollution was identified in the washing processes of synthetic textiles. During a washing process in a laundry machine, fabrics undergo mechanical and chemical stresses that induce the release of microfibres from the yarn and, through the wastewater, end up in the marine environment. Sampling of marine sediments showed that polyester, acrylic, polypropylene, and polyamide fibres contaminate shores on a global-scale. Their impact on marine flora and fauna is unpredictable and quite dangerous since they can adsorb organic pollutants and be ingested by marine organisms, potentially reaching the human food web. Surface treatments of synthetic fabrics were developed to mitigate the release of microplastics during their washing. The aim was to create a protective coating on the fabric surface, which can protect clothes during washing processes, then reducing the amount of microfibres released. Instead of using conventional synthetic textile auxiliaries, these treatments involve the usage of alternative polymers, selected for their biocompatibility and eco-sustainability.

FN-3:L03  Nanocomposite Motion Tape Sensors for Functional Movement Assessment
Y.-A. Lin, X. Zhao, S.-C. Huang, K.J. Loh, Department of Structural Engineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

Human movement and performance assessment has direct relevance to military/athletic training, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and wellness. Today’s wearable sensors only measure physiological measurements and activity that only provide a global sense of wellbeing but not how people move. In this study, a self-adhesive, elastic fabric, nanocomposite skin-strain sensor has been developed, tested, and validated through human subject studies. These “Motion Tapes” were fabricated by integrating graphene nanosheet thin films with kinesiology tape. Their sensing properties were characterized by correlating their electrical response with time-varying strains imposed by a load frame. Then, human subjects wearing Motion Tapes performed various exercise and functional movements, while reference measurements from optical motion capture and electromyography (EMG) data were acquired. The results showed that not only did Motion Tape accurately measure skin-strains, but their sensing response were also correlated with EMG muscle engagement data. A deep learning algorithm was also implemented to show that Motion Tape muscle measurements could predict joint angles during functional movements. Overall, the results demonstrated their potential for human physical performance assessment.

FN-3:IL05  Electrospun Nanofibers as designed 3D-structures for Nanomedicine
I. Bonadies, Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials (IPCB)-CNR, Pozzuoli (NA), Italy

Nano-engineering of textiles combining both materials science and design of textiles, permits to realize advanced textiles with specified functional properties. Electrospinning of polymers for the production of nanometric fibers is one of the technologies available for the textiles’ performance improvements and it can lead to non-woven fabrics with enhanced or new characteristics having multiple purposes. Applications of electrospun nanotextiles have the potential to revolutionize textile industry and areas of medicine such as drug delivery and tissue engineering. In this frame, this communication deals with nano-enabled functionalities in textiles for the encapsulation and release of active chemical agents such as drugs, cosmetics, fragrances. Our strategy combines the characteristics of the active agent with the specifications related to the application field to realize fibrous systems with specific morphologies. These electrospun engineered textiles find application in many fields such as drug releasing wound dressings, insect repelling, fragrance emitting clothing, skin care cosmetic. Furthermore, nanomedicine-related textiles based on electrospun fibers to realize scaffolds for neural tissue engineering will be presented. Our results show that eumelanin-coated fibrous structures expand the scope of substrate driven cell culture growth and maturation, and they might be worthy of consideration for defining new therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases.

FN-3:IL08  E-Textiles Technologies and Application - Uniting Electronics and Textiles
M. vON Krshiwoblozki, C. Kallmayer, C. Dils, Fraunhofer IZM, Berlin, Germany; M. Schneider-Ramelow, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany

E-Textile applications are endless – the market is growing rapidly and is expected to continue growing during the next years. Textile based sensor and actor systems as well as robust power and data transfer through textiles will play an important role in the next generation wearable e-health, fitness, work wear and defense/security market. In particular, textile based systems offer lucrative opportunities because they are stretchable, breathable and flat, and easily conform to the shape of the human body. However, technological challenges have to be overcome to handle the harsh use case scenarios and diverse applications of textile based wearable electronic systems. This talk will pro-vide an overview of different technologies suitable for the textile circuitry manufacturing. Also, the available diversity of suitable conductors such as metallized polymer yarns or special copper litz wires will be discussed. Additionally, general challenges to integrate electronics into textiles will be outlined and interconnection technologies to merge elec-tronics with different textile circuitries will be presented. Finally, an overview of recent e-textile projects will be presented.


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