Graphene Creates Future Textiles

Views: 221     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-10-12      Origin: Site


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Graphene Creates Future Textiles

Grafren AB, a chemical producer based in Sweden and an Associated Member of the Graphene Flagship, has received its first patent for a new method of separating graphene flakes. Erik Khranovskyy, CEO of Grafren, discusses how this cutting-edge technology may be utilized to transform ordinary fabrics into smart, electronic devices and interfaces.

Beginning the Journey

Grafren is a smart textiles business that specializes in generating graphene flakes and incorporating them into textiles and other goods. In 2018, the company was founded as a spin-off from nearby Linköping University, which is also a Graphene Flagship Associated Member. It has always been interested in graphene flakes since they are inexpensive and offer a wide range of possible applications.

Grafen believes that the quality of graphene can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful demonstration of graphene-based materials. To take advantage of graphene's exceptional capabilities, it must be of the suitable thickness. However, with graphene flakes, this is always an issue because the manufacturing procedure might result in flakes of varying thicknesses and lateral diameters.

Filtering or centrifugation can separate flakes into fractions in smaller production volumes. However, these technologies are unsuitable for high volumes since they need a significant investment of energy and time. Because it has such a high impact on production costs, the post-synthesis treatment of scattered flakes is one of the most significant barriers to graphene commercialization.

Problem Solving

Grafren has created a method for treating huge quantities of graphene dispersions. This entails dividing graphene flakes into portions based on thickness and lateral dimensions. The fundamental advantage of this technology is that it allows for the separation of thinner flakes from flakes thicker than ten atomic layers and including bulk inclusions and other impurities.

Grafren's first patent is critical. One reason for this is because the approach enables for the creation of aqueous dispersions of single and double-layer graphene oxide and graphene flakes. The thickness of the material is proportional to the hardness and bending ability of the flakes.

Grafren's method, like others that use gravity, is based on the difference in the flotation and sedimentation speeds of graphene and graphene oxide flakes in a liquid dispersion. Because it takes less energy and labor, our technique is also economically viable for large-scale graphene synthesis.


Projects in Progress

Grafren was able to produce high-quality graphene flakes and work on its core product, electrically conductive fabrics, thanks to this separation procedure. The company devised a novel method of incorporating graphene flakes into the fabric's depth, enveloping each individual thread and generating a conductive skin with controlled electrical conductivity. Grafren applied for a patent for this innovation in 2020, and it is now pending. This is the firm's second patent.

Meanwhile, Grafren is expanding its product portfolio through a customer-centric strategy, evaluating other textile materials, and planning for scale-up. At the moment, the largest size of fabric that can be created is approximately 100 by 100 centimeters (cm). Grafen hopes to achieve full roll-to-roll production at 180 cm width by the end of 2021.

Importantly, Grafren can conduct any textile or fiberous material, even glass fibers. Conductive glass fibers are particularly appealing for smart composite materials, and the company is in discussions with companies across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, sports, aerospace, defense, and gaming.

Nature's Individuality

Grafen's conductive fabric is one-of-a-kind. While it is still constructed of fibers, each fiber is individually coated with the thinnest flakes. At the same time, it has the feel and behavior of any other fabric. It is soft, flexible, and permeable to air and moisture. Grafren's conductive coating is more environmentally friendly because it simply comprises water and graphene. Binders are not used by the company. There is no glue or polymer to keep the conductive components inside the fabric together. This is owing to the unique features of graphene flakes, which wrap around the fibers to form the skin.

The material is exceedingly light. In fact, a low graphene loading of two grams per square meter of polyester fabric allows for a high resistance of 500 Ohm per square meter. This gives it an edge over other materials, which require binders and are thus harder, brittle, and at least ten times heavier.

Human-Machine Interface (HMI)

The Graphene Flagship brings together world-class graphene and layered materials experts. The company thinks that the only way to innovate is to dream big and aim high. As a result, Grafen is already working with various members of the Graphene Flagship consortium.

Grafren has worked on the development of graphene-based electrically conductive fabrics. The next step, however, is the polar opposite: insulation. Almost every conductive fabric use necessitates partial shielding of the conducting area. Insulation is also done on an individual fiber basis, as is conduction.

The prospect of putting a layered material with strong insulation properties, such as hexagonal boron nitride, to graphene-coated fibers is being investigated. However, using the same coating processes that have already been utilized on graphene, multi-coatings on individual fibers may be achievable. With increased porosity and permeability, this can help to sustain the textile structure. Grafen might, in theory, design a printed circuit board (PCB) that is integrated into a piece of cloth.


Grafen's ultimate goal is to build a digital textile interface (DTI) for human-machine communication. The concept is to include invisible electrodes into everyday clothing, allowing sensors or actuators to continuously monitor and stimulate the human body.

The device will be able to provide signals to the human body, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for pain management, heat, or any other type of stimulus. It could be used to monitor human health or movements using electrodermal, electrocardiogram, and other sensors, and then transmit this critical data to a data processing or storage device. Grafren's first patent is just the beginning.

Note from the Editor: The European Commission-funded Graphene Flagship aims to secure Europe's leading role in the continuing technological transformation by bringing graphene innovation out of the lab and into commercial applications. The Graphene Flagship brings together almost 170 academic and industry partners from 22 countries, all of whom are interested in various aspects of graphene and related materials. The Graphene Flagship enables cooperation among its partners by bringing varied capabilities together, expediting the timescale for industry acceptance of graphene innovations. The European Commission's FET Flagships enable unparalleled research endeavors. The Graphene Flagship, Human Brain Project, and Quantum Flagship are technology accelerators with 1 billion euro budgets that enable Europe compete in research and innovation with other worldwide markets. The European Commission has now supported the development of an experimental pilot line for graphene-based electronics, optoelectronics, and sensors with an additional 20 million euro investment.

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