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Conductive ink improves mechanical durability of printed e-textiles

(Nanowerk News) Researchers in Japan have developed a textile-permeable conductive ink to improve mechanical durability of printed e-textiles.
As the team reports in Advanced Materials ("Enhancing the Performance of Stretchable Conductors for E-Textiles by Controlled Ink Permeation"), the degree of permeation of the ink into the textile is important to realize stretchable wirings on textile, which benefit from intrinsic stretchability of composite and structure of textiles.
Slow evaporating solvent enabled permeation of viscous ink into textile. As a result, initial sheet resistance of printed lines was 0.06 Ω sq-1, and relative resistance increased only 70 times after stretching up to 450% due to the optimal morphology of textile bundles and conductive composite.
As a demonstration of their stretchable printable textile circuit, the team fabricated an electromyography (EMG) monitoring system on skin-tight compression garment to show a potential application as a biometric device.
skin-tight compression garments for EMG measurement
The skin-tight compression garments for EMG measurement. a) An image of one channel printed textile electrodes with compressive design. The scale bar is 5 cm. b) EMG signals from the fore arm measured by conventional gel electrodes and compressive textile sleeve electrodes during muscle activation and rest. c) Images of printed four-channel EMG measurement sleeve before wearing (left) and after wearing (right). Scale bars are 5 cm. (© Wiley-VCH verlag)
This mechanically durable and simply printable composite material enabled the realization of a multichannel EMG monitoring compression garment.
"We anticipate that this stretchable conductive ink for textile can provide new design opportunities for wearable e-textile applications such as health monitoring garments and textile integrated sensors," the authors cocnlude their report.
By Michael is author of two books by the Royal Society of Chemistry: Nano-Society: Pushing the Boundaries of Technology and Nanotechnology: The Future is Tiny.
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