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Web Exclusive | December 2016

Wearable cotton sensors developed

Conductive cotton fabrics have been developed into flexible wearable strain sensors. A team of scientists from the UK-based Cambridge University and Jiangnan University in China has used modified graphene to develop wearable cotton smart textiles.

Based on Cambridge Graphene Center’s Dr Felice Torrisi’s graphene ink chemistry for wearable electronics, the international team deposited the modified graphene on to cotton fabrics, using vacuum filtration. This process enabled modified graphene inks to adhere strongly to cotton fibers. Heat-treating the coated cotton fabrics enhanced the conductivity and made it durable even after several washes.

According to Dr Torrisi, using modified graphene inks make the process cheap and environmentally friendly and more importantly, the modified graphene is chemically compatible with cotton. Cotton strain sensors were able to detect up to 500 motion cycles even after ten wash cycles. According to researchers, this research can create new high performance wear, sports textiles and fashionable wearable electronic textiles.

The research, which has appeared in a recent issue of journal Carbon, is being commercialized by Cambridge University’ s commercialization unit.

By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
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