Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Smart and Functional Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 December 2023) | Viewed by 18048

Special Issue Editors

College of Textiles, Donghua University, Shanghai, China
Interests: flexible textile electronics; printing electronics on textiles; design and formation technology of specialized yarn and woven fabric
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Institute of Technology, Shanghai, China
Interests: UV nano-silver conductive ink; wearable RFID tags; textile-based electronics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ever-growing demand for portable and wearable electronics has driven considerable interest in smart textiles. In terms of the characteristics with flexibility, washability, and durability, smart textiles are excellent candidates to deliver electronic functions, such as sensing, healthcare monitoring, radio frequency identification, and energy harvesting, to the each part of human body by integrating electronic devices into textiles. Smart textiles sources are abundant and have a range of material types and manufacture methods—from functional polymers/inks to fibers/yarn/fabric-like structures, from traditional approaches (i.e., embroidering, knitting, and weaving) to one-step coating and printing technology. Innovation solutions is necessary to ensure smart textiles to achieve electrical stability toward the environmental conditions and have enough durability against the mechanical forces. In recent years, the number of publications related to smart textiles has increased, suggesting the importance and impact of smart textiles in the flexible electronics field. This Special Issue aims to gather high-quality original research works and specialized review articles on the synthesis, characterization, and application of smart textiles to provide a comprehensive coverage of this dynamic interdisciplinary field.

Dr. Jiyong Hu
Dr. Hong Hong
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • textronics
  • energy harvesting
  • smart textile material
  • textile computation
  • interactive textiles
  • structure
  • manufacturing
  • aging
  • measurement

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 4388 KiB  
Article
The Interconnecting Process and Sensing Performance of Stretchable Hybrid Electronic Yarn for Body Temperature Monitoring
by Fenye Meng, Shaoqing Dai, Yong Zhang and Jiyong Hu
Polymers 2024, 16(2), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16020243 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Flexible and stretchable electronic yarn containing electronic components (i.e., hybrid electronic yarn) are essential for manufacturing smart textile garments or fabrics. Due to their low stretchability and easy interconnection fracture, previously reported hybrid electronic sensing yarns have poor mechanical durability and washability. In [...] Read more.
Flexible and stretchable electronic yarn containing electronic components (i.e., hybrid electronic yarn) are essential for manufacturing smart textile garments or fabrics. Due to their low stretchability and easy interconnection fracture, previously reported hybrid electronic sensing yarns have poor mechanical durability and washability. In order to address this issue, a stretchable hybrid electronic yarn for body temperature monitoring was designed and prepared using a spandex filament as the core yarn and a thin enameled copper wire connected with a thermal resistor as the wrapping fiber. The temperature sensing performance of different hybrid electronic yarn samples was evaluated using the following three types of interconnection methods: conductive adhesive bonding, melt soldering, and hot pressure bonding. The optimal interconnection method with good sensing performance was determined. Furthermore, in order to improve the mechanical durability of the hybrid electronic yarn made using the optimal interconnection method, the interconnection area was encapsulated with polymers, and the effect of polymer materials and structures on the temperature-sensing properties was evaluated. The results show that traditional wrapping combined with hot pressing interconnection followed by tube encapsulating technology is beneficial for achieving high stretchability and good temperature-sensing performance of hybrid electronic yarn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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18 pages, 8829 KiB  
Article
Construction Strategy for Flexible and Breathable SiO2/Al/NFs/PET Composite Fabrics with Dual Shielding against Microwave and Infrared–Thermal Radiations for Wearable Protective Clothing
by Hui Ye, Qiongzhen Liu, Xiao Xu, Mengya Song, Ying Lu, Liyan Yang, Wen Wang, Yuedan Wang, Mufang Li and Dong Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16010006 - 19 Dec 2023
Viewed by 936
Abstract
Microwave and infrared–thermal radiation-compatible shielding fabrics represent an important direction in the development of wearable protective fabrics. Nevertheless, effectively and conveniently integrating compatible shielding functions into fabrics while maintaining breathability and moisture permeability remains a significant challenge. Here, we take hydrophilic PVA-co [...] Read more.
Microwave and infrared–thermal radiation-compatible shielding fabrics represent an important direction in the development of wearable protective fabrics. Nevertheless, effectively and conveniently integrating compatible shielding functions into fabrics while maintaining breathability and moisture permeability remains a significant challenge. Here, we take hydrophilic PVA-co-PE nanofibrous film-coated PET fabric (NFs/PET) as a flexible substrate and deposit a dielectric/conductive (SiO2/Al) bilayer film via magnetron sputtering. This strategy endows the fabric surface with high electrical conductivity, nanoscale roughness comparable to visible and infrared waves, and a dielectric–metal contact interface possessing localized plasmon resonance and Mie scattering effects. The results demonstrate that the optimized SiO2/Al/NFs/PET composite conductive fabric (referred to as S4-1) possesses favorable X-band electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding effectiveness (50 dB) as well as excellent long-wave infrared (LWIR) shielding or IR stealth performance (IR emissivity of 0.60). Notably, the S4-1 fabric has a cooling effect of about 12.4 °C for a heat source (80 °C) and an insulating effect of about 17.2 °C for a cold source (−20 °C), showing excellent shielding capability for heat conduction and heat radiations. Moreover, the moisture permeability of the S4-1 fabric is about 300 g/(m2·h), which is better than the requirement concerning moisture permeability for wearable fabrics (≥2500–5000 g/(m2·24 h)), indicating excellent heat and moisture comfort. In short, our fabrics have lightweight, thin, moisture-permeable and excellent shielding performance, which provides novel ideas for the development of wearable multi-band shielding fabrics applied to complex electromagnetic environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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24 pages, 10672 KiB  
Article
Development of Electromagnetic Shielding Composites Reinforced with Nonwovens Produced from Recycled Fibers
by Melisa Atay, Deniz Duran Kaya and Aydın Ülker
Polymers 2023, 15(22), 4469; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15224469 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
As a light-weight solution for electromagnetic shielding, this paper aims to investigate the development of electrically conductive composites that shield from electromagnetic radiation while providing sustainability by using recycled fibers in the structure of nonwoven reinforcement materials. The main novelty of this research [...] Read more.
As a light-weight solution for electromagnetic shielding, this paper aims to investigate the development of electrically conductive composites that shield from electromagnetic radiation while providing sustainability by using recycled fibers in the structure of nonwoven reinforcement materials. The main novelty of this research is the conversion of waste fabrics into functional composites via a fast and inexpensive method. For this purpose, waste fabrics were recycled into fibers, and the recycled fibers were processed into needle-punched nonwovens to be used as reinforcement materials for electromagnetic shielding composites. Electrically conductive composite structures were obtained by adding copper (II) sulfate and graphite conductive particles with different ratios to polyester resin. The hand lay-up method was used for the production of composites. Electromagnetic shielding, electrical resistivity, and some mechanical properties of the composites were investigated. The results were analyzed statistically using IBM SPSS software version 18. The results have shown that up to 31.43 dB of electromagnetic shielding effectiveness was obtained in the 1–6 GHz frequency range. This result corresponds to a very good grade for general use and a moderate grade for professional use, according to FTTS-FA-003, exceeding the acceptable range for industrial and commercial applications of 20 dB. The composites developed in this research are good candidates to be used in various general and professional applications, such as plastic parts in household applications, electronic industry, building and construction industries, and other applications where light weight shielding materials are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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13 pages, 4532 KiB  
Article
Washable and Flexible Screen-Printed Ag/AgCl Electrode on Textiles for ECG Monitoring
by Huating Tu, Xiaoou Li, Xiangde Lin, Chenhong Lang and Yang Gao
Polymers 2023, 15(18), 3665; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15183665 - 6 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2094
Abstract
Electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes are important sensors for detecting heart disease whose performance determines the validity and accuracy of the collected original ECG signals. Due to the large drawbacks (e.g., allergy, shelf life) of traditional commercial gel electrodes, textile electrodes receive widespread attention for [...] Read more.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes are important sensors for detecting heart disease whose performance determines the validity and accuracy of the collected original ECG signals. Due to the large drawbacks (e.g., allergy, shelf life) of traditional commercial gel electrodes, textile electrodes receive widespread attention for their excellent comfortability and breathability. This work demonstrated a dry electrode for ECG monitoring fabricated by screen printing silver/silver chloride (Ag/AgCl) conductive ink on ordinary polyester fabric. The results show that the screen-printed textile electrodes have good and stable electrical and electrochemical properties and excellent ECG signal acquisition performance. Furthermore, the resistance of the screen-printed textile electrode is maintained within 0.5 Ω/cm after 5000 bending cycles or 20 washing and drying cycles, exhibiting excellent flexibility and durability. This research provides favorable support for the design and preparation of flexible and wearable electrophysiological sensing platforms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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18 pages, 19994 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Electrical and Wearing Properties of Wool Fabric Coated with PEDOT:PSS
by Julija Pupeikė, Audronė Sankauskaitė, Sandra Varnaitė-Žuravliova, Vitalija Rubežienė and Aušra Abraitienė
Polymers 2023, 15(11), 2539; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15112539 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1453
Abstract
The way to improve the properties (resistance to washing, delamination, and rubbing off) of the PEDOT:PSS coating applied on wool fabric without reduction of its electrical conductivity by introducing a commercially available combination of low formaldehyde content melamine resins into the printing paste [...] Read more.
The way to improve the properties (resistance to washing, delamination, and rubbing off) of the PEDOT:PSS coating applied on wool fabric without reduction of its electrical conductivity by introducing a commercially available combination of low formaldehyde content melamine resins into the printing paste is presented in this paper. Primarily, to improve the hydrophilicity and dyeability of wool fabric, the samples were modified using low-pressure nitrogen (N2) gas plasma. Two commercially available PEDOT:PSS dispersions were used to treat wool fabric by the exhaust dyeing and screen printing methods, respectively. Spectrophotometric measurements of the color difference (ΔE*ab) and visual evaluation of woolen fabric dyed and printed with PEDOT:PSS in different shades of the blue color showed that the sample modified with N2 plasma obtained a more intense color compared to the unmodified one. SEM was used to examine the surface morphology and a cross-sectional view of wool fabric that had undergone various modifications. SEM image shows that the dye penetrates deeper into the wool fabric after plasma modification using dyeing and coating methods with a PEDOT:PSS polymer. In addition, with a Tubicoat fixing agent, HT coating looks more homogeneous and uniform. The chemical structure spectra of wool fabrics coated with PEDOT:PSS were investigated using FTIR-ATR characterization. The influence of melamine formaldehyde resins on the electrical properties, resistance to washing, and mechanical effects of PEDOT:PSS treated wool fabric was also evaluated. The resistivity measurement of the samples containing melamine-formaldehyde resins as an additive did not show a significant decrease in electrical conductivity, while the electrical conductivity was maintained after the washing and rubbing test as well. The best results of electrical conductivity for investigated wool fabrics before and after washing and mechanical action were determined for samples subjected to the combined processing–surface modification by low-pressure N2 plasma, dyeing by exhaust with PEDOT:PSS, and coating by the screen-printing method of PEDOT:PSS and a 3 wt.% melamine formaldehyde resins mixture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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21 pages, 7944 KiB  
Article
Novel SMD Component and Module Interconnection and Encapsulation Technique for Textile Substrates Using 3D Printed Polymer Materials
by David Kalaš, Radek Soukup, Jan Řeboun, Michaela Radouchová, Pavel Rous and Aleš Hamáček
Polymers 2023, 15(11), 2526; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15112526 - 30 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1645
Abstract
Nowadays, a range of sensors and actuators can be realized directly in the structure of textile substrates using metal-plated yarns, metal-filament yarns, or functionalized yarns with nanomaterials, such as nanowires, nanoparticles, or carbon materials. However, the evaluation or control circuits still depend upon [...] Read more.
Nowadays, a range of sensors and actuators can be realized directly in the structure of textile substrates using metal-plated yarns, metal-filament yarns, or functionalized yarns with nanomaterials, such as nanowires, nanoparticles, or carbon materials. However, the evaluation or control circuits still depend upon the use of semiconductor components or integrated circuits, which cannot be currently implemented directly into the textiles or substituted by functionalized yarns. This study is focused on a novel thermo-compression interconnection technique intended for the realization of the electrical interconnection of SMD components or modules with textile substrates and their encapsulation in one single production step using commonly widespread cost-effective devices, such as 3D printers and heat-press machines, intended for textile applications. The realized specimens are characterized by low resistance (median 21 mΩ), linear voltage–current characteristics, and fluid-resistant encapsulation. The contact area is comprehensively analyzed and compared with the theoretical Holm’s model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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12 pages, 4166 KiB  
Article
A Honeycomb-like Ammonium-Ion Fiber Battery with High and Stable Performance for Wearable Energy Storage
by Jiangdong Sun, Wenqi Nie, Shuai Xu, Pengxiang Gao, Shuang Sun, Xianhong Zheng, Qiaole Hu and Zhenzhen Xu
Polymers 2022, 14(19), 4149; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14194149 - 3 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1702
Abstract
Aqueous ammonium-ion batteries have attracted intense interest lately as promising energy storage systems due to the price advantage and fast charge/discharge capability of ammonium-ion redox reactions. However, the research on the strength and energy storage characteristics of ammonium-ion fiber batteries is still limited. [...] Read more.
Aqueous ammonium-ion batteries have attracted intense interest lately as promising energy storage systems due to the price advantage and fast charge/discharge capability of ammonium-ion redox reactions. However, the research on the strength and energy storage characteristics of ammonium-ion fiber batteries is still limited. In this study, an ammonium-ion fiber battery with excellent mechanical strength, flexibility, high specific capacity, and long cycle-life has been developed with a robust honeycomb-like ammonium vanadate@carbon nanotube (NH4V4O10@CNT) cathode. The fiber electrode delivers a steady specific capacity of 241.06 mAh cm−3 at a current of 0.2 mA. Moreover, a fiber full cell consisting of an NH4V4O10@CNT cathode and a PANI@CNT anode exhibits a specific capacity of 7.27 mAh cm−3 at a current of 0.3 mA and retains a high capacity retention of 72.1% after 1000 cycles. Meanwhile, it shows good flexibility and superior electrochemical performance after 500 times bending or at different deformation states. This work offers a reference for long-cycle, flexible fibrous ammonium-ion batteries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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21 pages, 9351 KiB  
Article
Selective Electroless Copper Plating of Ink-Jet Printed Textiles Using a Copper-Silver Nanoparticle Catalyst
by Golnaz Taghavi Pourian Azar, Sofya Danilova, Latha Krishnan, Yirij Fedutik and Andrew J. Cobley
Polymers 2022, 14(17), 3467; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14173467 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2830
Abstract
The electroless copper plating of textiles, which have been previously printed with a catalyst, is a promising method to selectively metallise them to produce high-reliability e-textiles, sensors and wearable electronics with wide-ranging applications in high-value sectors such as healthcare, sport, and the military. [...] Read more.
The electroless copper plating of textiles, which have been previously printed with a catalyst, is a promising method to selectively metallise them to produce high-reliability e-textiles, sensors and wearable electronics with wide-ranging applications in high-value sectors such as healthcare, sport, and the military. In this study, polyester textiles were ink-jet printed using differing numbers of printing cycles and printing directions with a functionalised copper–silver nanoparticle catalyst, followed by electroless copper plating. The catalyst was characterised using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Ultraviolet/Visible (UV/Vis) spectroscopy. The electroless copper coatings were characterised by copper mass gain, visual appearance and electrical resistance in addition to their morphology and the plating coverage of the fibres using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Stiffness, laundering durability and colour fastness of the textiles were also analysed using a stiffness tester and Launder Ometer, respectively. The results indicated that in order to provide a metallised pattern with the desired conductivity, stiffness and laundering durability for e-textiles, the printing design, printing direction and the number of printing cycles of the catalyst should be carefully optimised considering the textile’s structure. Achieving a highly conductive complete copper coating, together with an almost identical and sufficiently low stiffness on both sides of the textile can be considered as useful indicators to judge the suitability of the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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17 pages, 6964 KiB  
Article
Development of Embroidery-Type Pressure Sensor Dependent on Interdigitated Capacitive Method
by TranThuyNga Truong, Ji-Seon Kim and Jooyong Kim
Polymers 2022, 14(17), 3446; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14173446 - 23 Aug 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2536
Abstract
Many studies have been conducted to develop electronic skin (e-skin) and flexible wearable textiles which transform into actual “skin”, using different approaches. Moreover, many reports have investigated self-healing materials, multifunctional sensors, etc. This study presents a systematic approach to embroidery pressure sensors dependent [...] Read more.
Many studies have been conducted to develop electronic skin (e-skin) and flexible wearable textiles which transform into actual “skin”, using different approaches. Moreover, many reports have investigated self-healing materials, multifunctional sensors, etc. This study presents a systematic approach to embroidery pressure sensors dependent on interdigitated capacitors (IDCs), for applications surrounding intelligent wearable devices, robots, and e-skins. The method proposed a broad range of highly sensitive pressure sensors based on porous Ecoflex, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and interdigitated electrodes. Firstly, characterizations of ICDs embroidering on a cotton fabric using silver conductive thread are evaluated by a precision LCR meter throughout the frequency range from 1 kHz to 300 kHz. The effect of thread density on the performance of embroidered sensors is included. Secondly, the 16451B dielectric test fixture from Keysight is utilized to evaluate the composite samples’ dielectric constant accurately. The effect of frequency on sensor performance was evaluated to consider the influence of the dielectric constant as a function of the capacitance change. This study shows that the lower the frequency, the higher the sensitivity, but at the same time, it also leads to instability in the sensor’s operation. Thirdly, assessing the volume fraction of CNTs on composites’ properties is enclosed. The presence of volume portion CNTs upgrades the bond strength of composites and further develops sensor deformability. Finally, the presented sensor can accomplish excellent performance with an ultra-high sensitivity of 0.24 kPa1 in low pressure (<25 kPa) as well as a wide detection range from 1 to 1000 kPa, which is appropriate for general tactile pressure rages. In order to achieve high sensor performance, factors such as density, frequency, fabric substrate, and the structure of the dielectric layer need to be carefully evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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10 pages, 6518 KiB  
Article
Barrier Effects of Cellulosic Fibers with Hybrid Coating Based on Zirconium Metal-Organic Framework
by Qiuyue Wu and Manuel Jose Lis
Polymers 2022, 14(15), 3071; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14153071 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have great potential for the development of fire barriers for flammable materials. Accordingly, zirconium-based metal-organic framework (Zr-MOF), branched polyethyleneimine (BPEI), and vinyltriethoxysilane (VTES) were deposited to produce composites assembled on cellulosic fibers to investigate their barrier effects. The structure, morphology, [...] Read more.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have great potential for the development of fire barriers for flammable materials. Accordingly, zirconium-based metal-organic framework (Zr-MOF), branched polyethyleneimine (BPEI), and vinyltriethoxysilane (VTES) were deposited to produce composites assembled on cellulosic fibers to investigate their barrier effects. The structure, morphology, and thermal properties of the cellulosic fibers were characterized using FTIR spectroscopy, SEM, and TGA. Compared with the untreated cotton sample, the temperature of the maximum rate of weight loss (Tmax) of C-Zr-MOF/BPEI/VTES increased from 479 to 523.3 °C and the maximum weight loss rate (Rmax) at Tmax decreased from 37.6 to 17.2 wt%/min. At 800 °C, the pristine cotton was burned out without residues whereas the residual char content of the C-Zr-MOF/BPEI/VTES sample was 7.2355 wt%. From the vertical burning tests, the results suggested that the C-Zr-MOF/BPEI/VTES sample had better barrier effects by reducing the flame-spread speed and generating more protective char layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Textiles: Synthesis, Characterization and Application)
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