Until now, user-friendliness has been the focus of the development of smart and functional textiles.
Now it is time to address comfort when wearing these textiles—a quality factor that should be of interest to the industry.
The development of smart and functional e-textiles has gone at a rapid pace, not least when it comes to desired properties such as being lightweight, flexible, being elastic, and the possibility of integrating them into garments. User-friendliness has been the top priority, but when it comes to comfort, how the textiles actually feel on the skin, development has not come so far. This may explain why the market share of these textiles falls behind even though demand is high.
Doctoral student Melkie Tadesse has, in his research project, developed a method for assessing this, which should be of great interest for the industry when it comes to quality evaluation of these kinds of textiles.
“So far, the research has sought to produce a material that is perceived as an ordinary textile, but without succeeding in finding a method for evaluating the feeling, the comfort, of the material against the skin,” he explains. The aim also extends to being able to predict tactile comfort.
In his project, he has set up a sample material collection by developing and collecting various smart and functional textiles, using 3-D printing, coating, inkjet printing, screen printing on the textile substrate and smart fibers integrated into the knitting process itself. The functional textile materials have different properties such as being thermochromic (they are activated by heat), electrically conductive (activated by an electric current), photochromic (activated when exposed to light), and electroluminescent (they emit light when an electric current passes through it).
The project has been framed by a comprehensive approach to sustainable development.
“In the project, we have used completely environmentally friendly, resource-efficient and cost-effective techniques and chemicals, not least when it comes to inkjet printing, when we have developed and collected the various textile materials.”
For more information visit: phys.org