- Fiber actuator/sensor
Wearable electronic devices are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. As the field of flexible electronics progresses, there is significant research underway to integrate wearable and other electronic capabilities into textiles. The motivation is obvious since smart textiles can be potentially employed in a wide range of applications. The unique and desirable properties of textiles are mostly derived from their hierarchical structure with fibers as building blocks. Fiber-based electrical devices are inherently advantageous because they combine breathability, conformability, strength and stability of textiles with electrical functionalities.
Fiber actuators and sensors, possessing excellent flexibility and inherent small scale. Obviously, they can be integrated into textiles, such as woven, knitting and nonwovens, to develop wearable smart systems for human health, protection or rehabilitation. These devices are also crucial components in smart systems that can monitor signals and generate responses in very confined space.
- Integrating fiber electronics into textiles
To integrate fiber electronics into fabrics, textile technology provides variety of possibilities. Woven fabrics consist of two systems of orthogonal interlaced yarns that is ideal structure to assemble electrical circuits, such as tic-tac-toe logical controlled smart textiles; Knit fabrics consist of yarn loops are generally more flexible/deformable structures. Some of these are suitable for fabric actuators with large deformation capability.
- Responsive Materials
Electroactive polymers (EAPs) exhibit shape change when subjected to an electric field. They are lightweight, soft, and inexpensive, while they are easy to process, shape, and tune to offer a broad range of mechanical and electrical properties. Dielectric electroactive polymers (D-EAP) constitute a class of EAPs with great potential. D-EAPs consist of physically or chemically cross-linked macromolecular networks and are mechanically isotopic. Therefore, in most actuator applications that require directional electromechanical response, it is necessary to use other complex means to direct the stress/strain in the preferred direction.