Tech Briefs Magazine - May 2022 - 41

Electronic Textiles Made with
Conductive Cellulose Thread
The thread could lead to garments with
built-in electronic smart functions made from
non-toxic, renewable, and natural materials.
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg,
Sweden
A
research team developed a thread made of conductive cellulose
that offers practical possibilities for electronic textiles.
Sewing the electrically conductive cellulose threads into
a fabric using a standard household sewing machine, the researchers
produced a thermoelectric textile that generates a
small amount of electricity when it is heated on one side by a
person's body heat. At a temperature difference of 37 °C, the
textile can generate around 0.2 microwatts of electricity.
The thread was made conductive by dyeing it with an electrically
conductive polymeric material. Measurements show that the dyeing
process gives the cellulose thread high conductivity that can
be increased even further through the addition of silver nanowires.
In tests, the conductivity was maintained after several washes.
Applications for electronic textiles include healthcare, where
functions such as regulating, monitoring, and measuring various
health metrics could be beneficial. In the wider textile industry,
where conversion to sustainable raw materials is a vital ongoing
question, natural materials and fibers have become an increasingly
common choice to replace synthetics. Electrically conductive
cellulose threads could have a significant role to play.
The electrically conductive yarn is produced in a layer-on-layer
coating process with an ink based on the biocompatible polymer
polyelectrolyte com plex poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):
poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS). The e-textile thread
measures high conductivity for cellulose thread in relation to
volume of 36 S/cm-, which can be increased to 181 S/cm by
adding silver nanowires. The thread coated with PEDOT:PSS
can handle at least five machine washes without losing its conductivity.
By integrating the cellulose yarn into an electrochemical
transistor, the researchers have also been able to demonstrate
its electrochemical function.
For more information, contact Christian Müller, Professor
of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, at christian.muller@
chalmers.se; +46-31-772 27 90.
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Using a standard household sewing machine, the electrically conductive cellulose
yarn was sewn into a fabric, producing a thermoelectronic textile that
can produce a small amount of electricity when the textile is heated on one
side. (Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist/Chalmers University of Technology)
Tech Briefs, May 2022
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Tech Briefs Magazine - May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - May 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - May 2022 - Intro
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