The Advanced Textiles section of the IFAI Expo show floor was the central gathering point for industry participants engaging in lively discussions with their colleagues, listening to presentations by textiles experts and getting a first-hand look at some of the newest products and technologies available on the market. Advanced Textiles Source will run stories throughout the month about these new developments.
Solar cells paired with Electro-Yarn
Marubeni Electro-Yarn is a polyester multifilament coated with carbon nanotubes. Conductive, with customizable electrical resistance, the yarn is highly durable, resistant to bend fatigue and lighter in weight than metallic yarns. Marubeni uses this technology in creating a solar energy-harvesting textile composed of 1.2mm spherical solar cells, named Sphelar®, which are aligned and connected with the thread and used as a filling in the woven textile.
VOLT conductive thread and yarn
Supreme Corp. introduced a new product in e-textiles with its VOLT conductive thread. The VOLT Apache range of smart yarns includes blends of wool/nickel, and polyester filament coated with copper or stainless steel, capable of attaining high levels of conductivity on the order of 1.9 Ohms per meter. The yarns are being used to fit impact sensors into police body armor, which can then transmit critical information, such as a hit, to headquarters via Bluetooth.
DuPont’s stretchy, conductive ink
Printed circuitry, using electronic inks and pastes, is the latest innovation in creating conductive pathways. DuPont’s Intexar™ inks are screen printable in simple or complex patterns on a TPU film, which is then laminated to a fabric. The resulting e-textile is very flat, light and stretchy.
NeverWet® hydrophobic coatings
NeverWet® coatings create superhydrophobic surfaces that causes water to sit on a material in an almost perfect sphere, with almost no surface friction, the company says. Its coatings are well suited for anti-wetting, anti-icing, anti-corrosion and self-cleaning applications.
LED and fiber optic lighting has found many applications, both decorative and functional. But H. Lee Wainwright has taken it to another level with the ability to program lighted patterns and colors almost limitlessly via one’s smartphone. The lights can serve as alerts that only the owner of the wearable technology, such as a jacket, hat or purse, understands. Wainwright exhibited and was a sponsor for the Smart Fabrics Hackathon at Expo 2017.
A low-friction fabric technology called GlideWear was created by Tamarack Habilitation Technologies, a Minn.-based med tech company. The fabric product is designed to help amputees, wheelchair users and people with limited mobility reduce the friction and shear that causes wounds, diabetic foot ulcers and bed sores.