#TechTuesday: Grafren's fully flexible smart-textiles
Welcome to our Graphene Flagship #TechTuesday series! These articles will introduce some of the latest graphene-enabled products, pioneered and commercialised by different companies within the Graphene Flagship project. Today, we unveil Grafren's smart textiles, ready to monitor human health, regulate temperature, and much more.
Welcome to the future of textiles. Imagine soft and smart clothes that monitor human health parametres, control pain, regulate temperature, or even enhance our sense of touch. These e-fabrics are like a second skin: a new interface between the human body and the digital world.
So far, this concept has not been possible due to the limitations of conductive electrodes, which are rigid and non-breathable, thus not-ideal for textiles. Grafren’s fabrics contain thin graphene flakes and feel like any other fabrics: they are soft, flexible, permeable to air and moisture.
Graphene wraps every single fibre without the need of any glue or binder: this results in an extremely lightweight, conductive fabric. Grafren’s technology is fully compatible with traditional textile production methods. And it works on both weaved and knitted fabrics.
The electrodes’ resistance depends on the amount of graphene, so the textiles can have different functions. The resistance may provide the power to sensors or actuators. It can be suitable for heating applications, or can transmit signals to and from the human body.
Grafren made the world's first fully textile heater, which can heat up from 20 to 100°C in 8 seconds, using just 2 grams of graphene per square metre of polyamide cloth. In other applications, fabrics become pressure sensors, or strain sensors, where the electrical resistance changes upon stretching or elongation.
Beyond the biomedical sector, these smart textiles are suitable for sports, virtual reality and gaming.
The Grafren team is open to collaborate, and test your products and fabrics. In the future, everything is connected, clothes too!