Properties of Electronic Textile | Manufacturing Process of E-textiles

Electronic Textiles

Mashood Ahmed
School Of Textile and Design (STD)
University of Management & Technology, Lahore, Pakistan.
Cell : 0346-3331968
Email: 111811008@umt.edu.pk





Introduction:
E-textiles, also known as electronic textiles or smart textiles, are fabrics that enable digital components, and electronics to be embedded in them. Many intelligent clothing, smart clothing, wearable technology, and wearable computing projects involve the use of e-textiles.
E-Textile
Electronic textiles can be created by using minute electrically conductive fibers. These metallic fibers have been used for years in various industrial applications for the purpose of controlling static and electromagnetic interference shielding. Today, metallic fibers are finding new applications in the development of electronic textiles. Electrically conductive fibers can be classified into two general categories, those that are naturally conductive and those that are specially treated to create conductivity.

Manufacturing Process of E-textile:

Electronic textiles can be created by using minute electrically conductive fibers. These metallic fibers have been used for years in various industrial applications for the purpose of controlling static and electromagnetic interference shielding. Today, metallic fibers are finding new applications in the development of electronic textiles. Electrically conductive fibers can be classified into two general categories, those that are naturally conductive and those that are specially treated to create conductivity. The construction of electronic capabilities on textile fibers requires the use of conducting and semi-conducting materials such as a Conductive textile there are a number of commercial fibers today that include metallic fibers mixed with textile fibers to form conducting fibers that can be woven or sewn. However, because both metals and classical semiconductors are stiff material, they are not very suitable for textile fiber applications, since fibers are subjected to much stretch and bending during use. One of the most important issue of E-textiles is that the fibers should be made so that it can washable as the clothes should be washed when it is dirty and the electrical components in it should be an insulator at the time of washing. The design process of an e- textile should appreciate the complexity, cost, and effectiveness of system. This process must be based on a set of percept derived from the experience and developing concepts. Software/ hardware architecture of an e- textile using defined percept would facilitate the future research, and produce applicable models. An understanding of theories, fabrics, embedded conductive threads/ fibers, and the connections in electronics and fabric are significant in producing a prototype.

Application of Electronic Textiles:
E Textiles can be worn in everyday situations where currently available wearable computers would hinder the user. E Textiles can also more easily adapt to changes in the computational and sensing requirements of an application, a useful feature for power management and context awareness.
Electronic textile
Life Shirt is a continuous, integrated and wearable remote patient monitoring system, enables healthcare professionals and researchers to accurately monitor more than 30 vital life-sign functions in the real-world settings where patients live and work. A comfortable and completely non-invasive “smart garment”, Life Shirt gathers data during a patient’s daily routine- both awake and asleep- providing the most complete remote picture of a patient’s health status available today.

Others are Blue-Tooth Jacket, Garment with Portable Phone, Fiber Keyboard and etc.

BENEFITS OF E-TEXTILES:

Electronic textiles, or Intelligent textiles, are a new emerging inter disciplinary field of research, bringing together specialists in information technology, Microsystems, materials, and textiles. E textiles offer the following advantages:
  • Flexible
  • No wires to snag environment
  • Large surface area for sensing
  • Invisible to others
  • Cheap manufacturing
Properties of Electronic Textile:

Electrical properties:
Conductivity is the most important factor. Electrical resistance low enough to allow a flow of electric energy, such as for power or data transmission, is critical. Metal, carbon, or optical fibers are typically well-known conductors. Conductive yarns are either pure metal yarns or composites of metals and textiles. Metals are superior in strength and fineness, and textiles are selected for comfort.

Mechanical Properties:
E-textiles should be bendable, stretchable, and washable while keeping good electrical conductivity.

Flexibility:
Flexibility can be understood as the resistance to permanent deformation under stresses such as folding or bending. Flexibility of yarns can be improved through textile processes such as spinning or twisting.

The Uses of E Textiles can be divided into two main categories:
  • E-textiles with classical electronic devices such as conducting wires, integrated circuits, LEDs, and conventional batteries into garments. This is the common type of e-textile. 
  • E-textiles with modern electronics directly on the textile fibers. This can include can either passive electronics such as pure wires, conducting textile fibers, or more advanced electronics such as transistors, diodes and solar cells. The field of embedding advanced electronic components onto textile fibers is sometimes called fibertronics.
Future Perspectives of Electronic Textile:
A new generation of fabrics, called, as “E textiles” will open up numerous possibilities in future. Presently, electronic textiles are still in developing stage but it has shown great potential in terms of application areas. Future warrior systems would be equipped with head-up display, wireless weapons, global positioning systems, chemical and biological threat detectors, battery power, personal physiological status sensors, combat ID sensors, all linked up to the combat soldier's personal computer to assist him with situational awareness and understanding. There are no doubts that electronic textiles have great potential for health care, entertainment, sportswear and communication.
 

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