Nanotube yarns key to survival of 'smart clothing' in laundry

London, Jan 7 (ANI): For long, manufacturers have looked for a way to create clothing materials, which have conducting paths that, say, connect sports performance sensors or your music player to your phone but the technology to make that possible hadn't been created, until now.

"Until now, such multifunctional applications have been limited by the ability to spin important materials into yarns and make sure they stay there even after washing," New Scientist quoted Ray Baughman of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas, as saying.

His team tried to craft a yarn containing titanium dioxide to create self-cleaning fabrics, for instance - and hold onto them if they were to be washed under hot water.

As a 'forest' of multiwalled carbon nanotubes is cut, drawing the razor blade produces a fine web of nanotubes held together.

"As you pull, nanotubes stick to the blade, and that pulls the next nanotube, and that one the next, and so on," said Baughman.

"So you end up with a sheet, a web of nanotubes. And once you have drawn out a sheet, you can twist it into a yarn."

Then the nanoweb is twisted by a spinning magnet to create a yarn that holds onto the titanium dioxide particles within it and can be woven alongside woollen and cotton threads for clothing manufacture.

This yarn would not only find applications in clothing, but also in engineering applications for smart yarns in superconducting linear motors, batteries, supercapacitors and hydrogen storage systems.

The team has lodged an international patent filing on the idea and are now working with what Baugham describes as "an agency" on the most immediate applications for it.

The study is published in Science. (ANI)

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