What are Smart Textiles?
Smart textiles are wearable clothes with functionality attached with them. These textiles have to potential to communicate with other devices, act as sensors, and conduct energy and various other advantages. Wearable smart textiles were made by attaching electronic devices to the fabric which made them bulkier and susceptible to malfunctioning. The biggest problem with smart textiles until now is the difficulty of making them durable, affordable and mass produced. The new technologies coat the material on the fabric then integrating them.
What is Graphene?
In simple words Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms. It is an atomic scale honey-comb lattice of carbon atoms. Graphene is a thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity. It is flexible and a very strong material. Every atom in graphene is exposed to its environment making it susceptible to changes around its environment, making it an ideal material for sensing.
Graphene coating on smart textiles
A team of researchers at The University of Manchester have developed a method to produce a scalable graphene based yarn. The team is led by Dr Nazimul Karim and Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov. The findings are published in ACS Nano and it has the potential to produce tonnes of conductive graphene based yarn, using existing textile machineries and without adding to the production costs.
A team led by Professor Monica Carcuin from the University of Exeter Engineering department has pioneered a technique to attach the graphene based electronic fibres to create touch sensors and light emitting devices. The findings are published in Flexible electronics.
These new advances can greatly aid the advancement of creating wearable smart clothing which can revolutionise the field of textile as well as coatings.