An electrifying advance toward tomorrow's power suits

Jan 20, 2010
Fabrics treated with this new electrically-conductive ink may power a new generation of futuristic clothing that charges iPods, cell phones and other electronics. Credit: American Chemical Society

Could powering an iPod or cell phone become as easy as plugging it into your tee shirt or jeans, and then recharging the clothing overnight? Scientists in California are reporting an advance in that direction with an easier way of changing ordinary cotton and polyester into "conductive energy textiles" -- e-Textiles that double as a rechargeable battery. Their report on the research appears in ACS' Nano Letters.

"Wearable electronics represent a developing new class of materials with an array of novel functionalities, such as flexibility, stretchability, and lightweight, which allow for many applications and designs previously impossible with traditional electronics technology," Yi Cui and colleagues note. "High-performance sportswear, wearable displays, new classes of portable power, and embedded health monitoring systems are examples of these novel applications."

The report describes a new process for making E-textiles that uses "ink" made from single-walled carbon nanotubes — electrically conductive carbon fibers barely 1/50,000 the width of a human hair. When applied to cotton and polyester fabrics, the ink produced e-Textiles with an excellent ability to store . The fabrics retained flexibility and stretchability of regular cotton and polyester, and kept their new e-properties under conditions that simulated repeated laundering.

Explore further: Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

More information: "Stretchable, Porous, and Conductive Energy Textiles", pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/nl903949m

Related Stories

Toward 'invisible electronics' and transparent displays

Feb 05, 2009

Researchers in California are reporting an advance toward the long-sought goal of "invisible electronics" and transparent displays, which can be highly desirable for heads-up displays, wind-shield displays, and electronic ...

Wearing Your Wireless

May 21, 2007

Movies and television have educated us more than we know. Thanks to detective thrillers, we understand about the drama of "wearing a wire." But a NASA-sponsored technology is paving the way for all of us to ...

Recommended for you

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

Apr 17, 2014

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

Apr 17, 2014

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Adriab
not rated yet Jan 21, 2010
A good next step would be to add a layer that can convert the stretching/moving of the clothing into charge.
ShadowRam
5 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2010
A good next step would be to add a layer that can convert the stretching/moving of the clothing into charge.


I already have a sweater that does that quite well.
jj2009
not rated yet Jan 21, 2010
plugging your ipod into your clothes, and then plugging your clothes in to charge overnight.

hows that any different than just plugging in your ipod to charge overnight
NotAsleep
not rated yet Jan 22, 2010
Will the insides be lined with rubber to keep us from getting electrocuted? It seems pretty dangerous to wrap our bodies in a battery... plus, will this lead to a new generation of people that wear the exact same clothes every single day? Reflecting on my time at college, these people should be excluded from society
PinkElephant
not rated yet Jan 22, 2010
Forgive me, but aren't carbon nanotubes carcinogenic? They penetrate cell walls easily, they are not quick to decompose. Structurally, they ought to behave A LOT like asbestos fibers. So do we REALLY want to soak clothes in this stuff, and WEAR them: so that the entire surface of skin is exposed by direct, repeated, mechanical contact?

REALLY???
flaredone
not rated yet Jan 23, 2010
So do we REALLY want to soak clothes in this stuff, and WEAR them
Of course not, this research is a nonsense with respect to perspective provided.

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...