“Currently, smart textiles are made primarily of metallic or optical fibers. They’re fragile. They’re not comfortable. Metal fibers also corrode. There are problems with washing such electronic textiles.
We have found a much simpler way---an elegant way---by combining two fibers, one natural and one created by nanotechnology,” said Nicholas Kotov, a professor in the departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
Kotov and Bongsup Shim, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, are among the co-authors of a paper on this material currently published online in Nano Letters.
To make these “e-textiles,” the researchers dipped 1.5-millimeter thick cotton yarn into a solution of carbon nanotubes in water and then into a solution of a special sticky polymer in ethanol. After being dipped just a few times into both solutions and dried, the yarn was able to conduct enough power from a battery to illuminate a light-emitting diode device.
“This turns out to be very easy to do,” Kotov said. “After just a few repetitions of the process, this normal cotton becomes a conductive material because carbon nanotubes are conductive.”
The only perceptible change to the yarn is that it turned black, due to the carbon. It remained pliable and soft.
In order to put this conductivity to use, the researchers added the antibody anti-albumin to the carbon nanotube solution. Anti-albumin reacts with albumin, a protein found in blood. When the researchers exposed their anti-albumin-infused smart yarn to albumin, they found that the conductivity significantly increased. Their new material is more sensitive and selective as well as more simple and durable than other electronic textiles, Kotov said.
Clothing that can detect blood could be useful in high-risk professions, the researchers say. An unconscious firefighter, ambushed soldier, or police officer in an accident, for example, couldn’t send a distress signal to a central command post. But the smart clothing would have this capability.
Kotov says a communication device such as a mobile phone could conceivably transmit information from the clothing to a central command post.
“The concept of electrically sensitive clothing made of carbon-nanotube-coated cotton is flexible in implementations and can be adapted for a variety of health monitoring tasks as well as high performance garments,” Kotov said.
It is conceivable that clothes made out of this material could be designed to harvest energy or store it, providing power for small electronic devices, but such developments are many years away and pose difficult challenges, the engineers say.
The paper published online in Nano Letters is titled, “Smart Electronic Yarns and Wearable Fabrics for Human Biomonitoring Made by Carbon Nanotube Coating with Polyelectrolytes.” Other contributors are with Jiangnan University in China.
This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.For more information:
Nicole Casal Moore | Newswise Science News
From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside
Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy