Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Electrically conductive textile platform

EMPA – an interdisciplinary research and services institution for material sciences and technology development within the ETH Domain will present this Friday at the Smart Textiles Salon in Ghent, the ‘Conducting textile platform based on novel e-fibers’.
There are different technologies and processes to create electrical conductive fibers and yarns, some use fine silver wires spun together with polyester yarn, some coat polyester yarn with a metal layer and others coat woven textiles with metals to make them electrically conductive.
The research team at EMPA uses a low-pressure plasma sputtering process to coat a 100-200 nm thick metal layer on common monofil- or multifil- yarns.
This process does not change the properties of the fibers base material but make them reliably conductive for low-current signals such as audio signals, computer interfaces (e.g. USB) or low current supply. The typical resistance they can achieve is 5 to 50 Ohms per cm.
The aim of the EMPA project is to create electrically conductive fibers useable for e-Textiles which do behave and perform like any conventional textile, are as robust and resistant as conventional textiles but are capable to be used as interconnection platform for technology enabled clothing.

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