After attending the recent BioFabricate summit I feel like I’m hyper aware of the environmental and health issues of the fashion industry. Once you add tech into the mix it gets even more difficult. For those of us into soft circuits, we’re aware of conductive yarn, which is great if you are doing knit work. However, often times a woven textile is the way to go, yet it needs to allow for stretch. Trying to find more natural ways to include circuits in garments is definitely a challenge, which is why I was drawn to a post about a new conductive cotton textile on California Apparel News.
In their post, Dr Felice Torrisi at the Cambridge Graphene Centre at the University of Cambridge describes the advantages of their exciting material, which uses graphene based ink.
“Other conductive inks are made from precious metals such as silver, which makes them very expensive to produce and not sustainable, whereas graphene is both cheap, environmentally-friendly, and chemically compatible with cotton.”
The team’s breakthrough is their method for treating the graphene sheets so they adhere well to cotton, even allowing for multiple wash cycles. The result is a fabric that is flexible, breathable and above all, comfortable, making it a nice choice for the health, defense and sports sectors. The material was created in collaboration with scientists at Jiangnan University in China, with Professor Chaoxia Wang as co-author of the white paper. You can check out the details on Phys.org.
If you have an interest in experimenting with your own blends of conductive materials, you should check out our Conductive Fiber. I’ve had friends use this soft stainless steel to create conductive felted stuffed animals with blinky eyes. However, you could get far more serious and include it in sweaters or any other textile needing a soft secret button. Show us what you create!
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!