Kirigami Design Considerations for Enhancing the Performance of E-Textiles

Kirigami is the Japanese art of paper cutting. By utilizing periodic cut designs, Kirigami imparts enhanced flexibility, delocalization of stress concentrations, and unique 3D conformations onto patterned substrates. As a result, Kirigami has been applied for strain engineering applications to improve the flexibility of wearable electronics. One of the fundamental challenges in the smart textiles industry is the mismatch in compliance between the rigid electronic components integrated onto soft textile platforms. To address these problems, various printing technologies using conductive inks have been explored in an effort to improve the electromechanical performance without sacrificing the innate (natural) properties of the printed textile. However, current printing methods deposit thick layered coatings onto textile surfaces with low through-plane wetting resulting in poor electromechanical properties. By combining a novel inkjet printing technique developed in our lab and unique Kirigami cut designs, we have developed a process to resolve the aforementioned issues for printed e-textiles. Our designs show a vast improvement in electromechanical stretch ability, performance, and durability. Overall, Kirigami designs have the potential to address a wide range of challenges and enable applications previously unknown in the E-Textile industry.