Scientists from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a cost-efficient and scaleable method for rapidly fabricating textiles that are embedded with energy storage devices. The team reports that in just three minutes, the method can produce a 10x10cm smart textile patch that’s waterproof, stretchable and readily integrated with energy technologies like graphene supercapacitors, laser printed directly onto the textiles.
As a proof-of-concept, the researchers connected the supercapacitor with a solar cell, delivering an efficient, washable and self-powering smart fabric that overcomes the key drawbacks of existing e-textile energy storage technologies.
Dr. Litty Thekkakara, a researcher in RMIT’s School of Science, said smart textiles with built-in sensing, wireless communication or health monitoring technology called for robust and reliable energy solutions. “Current approaches to smart textile energy storage, like stitching batteries into garments or using e-fibres, can be cumbersome and heavy, and can also have capacity issues,” Thekkakara said.
“These electronic components can also suffer short-circuits and mechanical failure when they come into contact with sweat or with moisture from the environment… Our graphene-based supercapacitor is not only fully washable, it can store the energy needed to power an intelligent garment – and it can be made in minutes at large scale”.
The research analyzed the performance of the proof-of-concept smart textile across a range of mechanical, temperature and washability tests and found it remained stable and efficient. Read full article here.
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