4 years ago

Wearable and Washable Conductors for Active Textiles

Wearable and Washable Conductors for Active Textiles
Guodong Nian, Li Jia, Zhigang Suo, Zhengjing Wang, Paul Le Floch, Xi Yao, Qihan Liu, Yu Sun
The emergence of stretchable electronics and its potential integration with textiles have highlighted a challenge: Textiles are wearable and washable, but electronic devices are not. Many stretchable conductors have been developed to enable wearable active textiles, but little has been done to make them washable. Here we demonstrate a new class of stretchable conductors that can endure wearing and washing conditions commonly associated with textiles. Such a conductor consists of a hydrogel, a dissolved hygroscopic salt, and a butyl rubber coating. The hygroscopic salt enables ionic conduction and matches the relative humidity of the hydrogel to the average ambient relative humidity. The butyl rubber coating prevents the loss and gain of water due to the daily fluctuation of ambient relative humidity. We develop the chemistry of dip-coating the butyl rubber onto the hydrogel, using silanes to achieve both the cross-link of the butyl rubber and the adhesion between the butyl rubber and the hydrogel. We test the endurance of the conductor by soaking it in detergent while stretching it cyclically and by machine-washing it. The loss of water and salt is minimal. It is hoped that these conductors open applications in healthcare, entertainment, and fashion.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b07361

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b07361

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