Are smart textiles ready for the real world?

March 24, 2017

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a slow but sure evolution of wearable electronics, including smart textiles, designed primarily to monitor body functions and communicate with the Internet of Things. But a great many were not especially wearable, and some never made it out of the lab. The tide, however, seems to be turning. Première …

Better together

March 10, 2017

Collaborative efforts support growth in the smart textiles industry. The more high tech an industry is, the greater the range of expertise it may need. Advanced textiles, particularly smart materials, are a prime example of this. Textiles often undergo a variety of processes requiring specialized skills and equipment, so collaboration is essential to the industry. …

Energy harvesting steps up

February 24, 2017

Recent university and scientific lab research from around the world has focused on the potential of kinetic energy harvesting methods, but it may be too soon to see wide-spread commercially viable production. “We set out to answer the question of whether you can get useful amounts of electrical power out of something that looks like …

Textile integration of piezoelectric energy harvesting

February 10, 2017

Breathing is the most consistent source of kinetic energy in the human body, as it produces a large circumferential displacement in the chest, even during sleep. This oscillation is one of few mechanisms in the human body that can also be exploited non-invasively for energy harvesting. The National Science Foundation’s ASSIST (Advanced Self-Powered Systems of …

What “going circular” means for the apparel and textile industry

The apparel and footwear industry is forecast to generate double-digit growth to 2020 according to business analysts McKinsey & Co. One of the challenges is reconciling this growth with sustainability initiatives. As this report states it, “Sustainability and rapid business growth are not compatible; to pretend otherwise would be disingenuous.”  The solution proposed is an …

Stronger possibilities

January 20, 2017

Carbon nanofibers and graphene can play a role in constructing Space habitats using robotics. The use of robotically-assisted additive manufacturing involving a mixture of carbon nanofibers, graphene and other polymer nanocomposites will allow the construction of lightweight and impervious sealant barriers, ultra-strong supports, airlocks and even bulkheads for future Space habitats and colonies within dormant …

Keeping up with carbon

January 6, 2017

A rapidly growing demand for carbon fiber is stressing market ability to provide. Although carbon fiber as a commodity has been around since the late 1960s, only in the past 10 years can there truly be considered a dynamic market of real substance with steady growth potential. A market report published in Reinforced Plastics Nov/Dec …

Medical textiles: what’s next?

“Health in hands,” is one of the catch phrases that illustrate a new focus in health care today. Proactive health care by monitoring and managing health issues continues to gain broader acceptance, particularly in developed and developing economies. Textiles of many kinds enhance health care products and contribute to the next phase of improvements. The …