Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Electrically heated textiles now possible via UMass Amherst research

29.09.2017

In a new paper in Applied Materials & Interfaces, UMass Amherst scientists describe how they use a vapor deposition method for nano-coating fabric to create sewable, weavable, electrically heated material

Commuters, skiers, crossing guards and others who endure frozen fingers in cold weather may look forward to future relief as manufacturers are poised to take advantage of a new technique for creating electrically heated cloth developed by materials scientist Trisha Andrew and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They have made gloves that keep fingers as warm as the palm of the hand.


A three-layered glove developed by materials chemist Trisha Andrew has one layer coated by the conducting polymer PEDOT and is powered by a button battery weighing 1.8 grams.

Credit: UMass Amherst

In a new paper in Applied Materials & Interfaces, the scientists describe how they use a vapor deposition method for nano-coating fabric to create sewable, weavable, electrically heated material. The demonstration glove they made can keep fingers toasty for up to eight hours. The three-layered glove, with one layer coated by the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxytiophene), also known as PEDOT, are powered by a button battery weighing 1.8 grams. A dime weighs just under 2.27 grams.

The authors point out, "Lightweight, breathable and body-conformable electrical heaters have the potential to change traditional approaches to personal thermal management, medical heat therapy, joint pain relief and athletic rehabilitation."

Andrew says, "We took a pair of cotton gloves and coated the fingers to allow a small amount of current to pass through, so they heat up. It's regular old-fashioned cotton cloth. We chose to make a pair of gloves because the fingers require a high curvature that allows us to show that our material is really flexible. The glove is powered by a small coin battery and they run on nano-amps of current, not enough to pass current through your skin or to hurt you. Our coating works even when it's completely dunked in water, it will not shock you, and our layered construction means the conductive cloth does not come into contact with your skin."

She adds, "We hope to have this reach consumers as a real product in the next few years. Maybe it will be two years to a prototype, and five years to the consumer. I think this is the most consumer-ready device we have. It's ready to take to the next phase."

Until recently, textile scientists have not used vapor deposition because of technical difficulties and high cost of scaling up from the laboratory. But recently, manufacturers are finding that the technology can be scaled up while remaining cost-effective, the researchers say. Using the vapor deposition method described in their paper, Andrew and colleagues also coated threads of a thick cotton yarn commonly used for sweaters. It performed well and offers another avenue for creating heated clothing, the authors state.

Andrew says, "One thing that motivated us to make this product is that we could get the flexibility, the nice soft feel, while at the same time it's heated but not making you sweaty. A common thing we hear from commuters is that in the winter, they would love to have warmer fingers." In their laboratory tests, her research team reports, four fingers of the test glove warmed to the same temperature as the palm, and "the wearer could feel the heat transferred from the fabric heaters to her fingers a few seconds after the voltage was applied."

Andrew and chemistry postdoctoral researcher Lushuai Zhang, with chemical engineering graduate student Morgan Baima, conducted several tests to assure that their gloves could stand up to hours of use, laundering, rips, repairs and overnight charging. Andrew notes, "Right now we use an off-the-shelf battery that lasts for eight hours, but you would need a rechargeable to make these more practical."

Further, "If you are skiing and rip your glove, you can repair it just by sewing it back together with plain thread."

They arranged for biocompatibility testing at an independent lab where mouse connective tissue cells were exposed to PEDOT-coated samples and responses compared to positive and negative controls. They report that their PEDOT-coated materials are safe for contact with human skin without causing adverse reactions to the chemicals used.

They also addressed questions of heat, moisture and skin contact stability to prevent the wearer from experiencing any electric shock from a wet conducting element. Andrew says, "Chemically, what we use to surround the conductive cloth looks like polystyrene, the stuff used to make packing peanuts. It completely surrounds the conducting material so the electrical conductor is never exposed."

Experimenting with different variables in the vapor nano-coating process, they found that adjusting temperature and chamber pressure were important in achieving optimal surface coverage of the cloth. In a test of the fabric's ability to resist cracking, creasing or other changes when heated, they generated a temperature of 28 degrees C (82.4 F) with connection to a 4.5-V battery and 45 degrees C (113 F) connected to a 6-V battery for an hour, and found "no dramatic morphology changes," indicating that the PEDOT-coated cotton textile was rugged and stable enough to maintain its performance" when used as a heating element.

###

Funding for this work came from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and partial support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. Andrew, who is director of wearable electronics at the Center for Personalized Health Monitoring in UMass Amherst's Institute of Applied Life Sciences (IALS), says her lab is also developing a wearable heart rate monitor with electrodes embedded in a fitness bra. They plan to test that soon with volunteers on a treadmill at the IALS human movement facility.

Media Contact

Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@umass.edu
413-545-0444

 @umassscience

http://www.umass.edu 

Janet Lathrop | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: battery cotton fingers heart rate heated textiles skin textiles

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

nachricht Proteins imaged in graphene liquid cell have higher radiation tolerance
10.12.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Topological material switched off and on for the first time

11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs

11.12.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>