Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022 - 12

[ BRIEFS ] swatches
Mushroom-based leather
M
ycoWorks, a California-based biotech company, has created an ecofriendly,
vegan leather derived from mushrooms. The leather turns
mycelium, the microscopic, root-like threads of a mushroom that latch
onto and colonize different substrates, into a material that imitates the look
and feel of animal-based leather. And by being completely animal-free, the
MycoWorks' material is far more eco-friendly than traditional cowhide leather.
MycoWorks creates its rigid material using engineered mycelium cells.
A new mushroom-based leather is developed
by harvesting engineered mycelium cells to
mimic the look and feel of traditional animalbased
leather. Photo: MycoWorks.
As the cells grow into 3-D structures, they become intertwined, forming a
tough material, dubbed Fine Mycelium, which has the strength, durability and
performance of traditional leather. The company primarily uses Ganoderma
lucidum, better known as the reishi mushroom which is commonly used
in natural remedies and teas. As a natural fiber, mycelium is particularly
attractive because it can be grown and manipulated into a variety of textures
and shapes. Unlike other types of mushroom-based vegan leather, Fine
Mycelium is engineered to have the same look and feel as animal and
synthetic leathers.
" It's the first time that a company is able to produce a vegetal product
which is matching or even exceeding the quality and durability and aesthetics
of a natural one. It's a super achievement, " noted MycoWorks board member
Patrick Thomas, formerly of Herm├Ęs, in a statement.
New prototype 'smart' fabric
can generate electricity
T
he newest member of the wearable tech movement
may one day be a fabric that can generate a small
electric charge, enough to power small electronics
through everyday movements.
Researchers at the University of Fukui in Japan have
created a mix of fibers that build a static electrical charge
that can be " harvested " through the fabric. The two fibers
(polyvinylidene fluoride and a type of nylon) are coated with silver nanowires. Rubbing the two
materials together through mechanical motion, such as walking or running, causes them to
gain a static charge called the triboelectric effect. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) use this
effect to convert mechanical motion into electrical energy. When the materials are separated,
the charge is released. An added polystyrene membrane collects and traps the charge.
Because the TENG components are composed of fiber material, they can easily be integrated
with conventional fabrics, offering flexibility and breathability.
At this point in their development, TENGs can create only enough power to run devices
such as LEDs and small calculators. In a feasibility demonstration of the nanogenerators, the
researchers used the TENG-infused fabric to light up 126 commercial LEDs, each rated at 0.06
Watt. Further improvements, such as adding metals to the electrospun fibers, will improve the
electrostatic potential and charge-trapping capabilities they say.
12 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / January 2022
Made of electrospun
polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)
and nylon, silver nanowires
(AgNWs) and polystyrene (PS),
the new all-fibrous composite
nanogenerator (AF-TENG) can
be easily incorporated into
clothing, allowing it to power
small electronics through
everyday movements.
Photo: Courtesy Nano Energy.
For more about this emerging
technology, see " Providing your
own power " on page 44.

Specialty Fabrics Review January 2022

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