Materials of the future: Graphene and textiles

Views: 258     Author: lydia     Publish Time: 2023-09-27      Origin: Site


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Materials of the future: Graphene and textiles

Graphene has proven to be a game-changer in the textile industry, that’s why several sports and clothing brands are working with graphene suppliers to produce graphene-enriched fabrics.

Chosen by more and more professional and amateur sportspeople, this clothing offers versatile, light and strong materials with interesting thermal and conductivity properties. Some Olympian athletes in Tokyo 2020 wore graphene fabrics for their comfort and lightweight properties.

Graphene is an excellent thermal conductor, thus ideal for heated winter garments. Graphene preserves the heat in cold weather and expels heat in warm surroundings. Graphene fibres are also waterproof, thus suitable alternatives for neoprene wetsuits and for swimwear.

The textile industry can also take advantage of graphene’s properties to produce wearable electronics, which can detect, analyse and transmit information about the body and ambient data, and can have life-changing applications in medicine, sports and other fields.

Here are some examples of textiles with graphene that are either available on the market, or in development.

A new wearing experience for warmth and dry comfort during sports

Global sportswear brand Umbro integrated Graphene Flagship Partner Versarien's Graphene-Wear™ technology into its 2023 spring/summer collection’s Elite Pro-Training Kit range. Graphene-Wear™ features novel properties that will allow wearers to experience enhanced thermal transmittance, increased moisture management and improved drying rate, without compromising air or water vapour permeability.

Recently, Graphene Wear™ was also certified by the independent certification system OEKO-TEX®. Gaining OEKO-TEX® Eco Passport means that Graphene Wear™ is an ecologically responsible textile, meets the relevant statutory requirements and textile industry standards, and does not harm human health.

An innovative coating method for skin-like feeling

Graphene Flagship Associated Member Grafren AB, based in Sweden, is testing their graphene-coating method with diverse textile materials. The method does not use binders, nor glue to embed the conductive components inside the fabric. The innovative way to incorporate graphene flakes into the depth of the fabric creates a soft, flexible skin-like product with controlled electrical conductivity. Granted two patents on preparation of the graphene ink and coating of the fabric, the company has developed its own unique equipment for graphene coating and at present can treat fabrics as wide as two metres, in roll-to-roll mode.

The company has three graphene textile products in the pipeline: electrically heatable textiles (G-Heatex) ready for commercialisation, ultra-lightweight camouflage garments and pressure monitoring fabrics for digital healthcare.

More recently, Grafren applied their approach to natural textile fibres, such as flux, jute and hemp, obtaining positive results. “Once proven its efficiency, this can be a game changer in the 'green' composites commercialisation,” says Grafren CEO Erik Khranovskyy.


Graphene Creates Future Textiles

Future human-machine interfaces will benefit from graphene-enabled e-textiles.

Grafren AB, a Swedish chemical producer and Graphene Flagship partner member, has received its first patent for a unique 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. We were founded in 2018 as a spin-off from Linköping University, a Graphene Flagship Associated Member. Graphene flakes have long piqued our curiosity because they are inexpensive and offer a wide range of possible applications.

We believe 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 novel approach for treating huge volumes 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. We devised a novel method for incorporating graphene flakes into the fabric's depth, enveloping each individual fiber 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 piece of fabric we can produce is around 100 × 100 cm. By the end of 2021, we hope to have 180 cm wide full roll-to-roll production.

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

Nature's one-of-a-kind

Our 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 than others because it comprises only water and graphene. Binders are not used. 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/m2. This gives it an edge over other materials, which require binders and are thus harder, brittle, and ten times heavier.

Human-Machine Interface (HMI)

The Graphene Flagship brings together world-class graphene and layered materials experts. With huge dreams and lofty goals, we believe that collaboration is the best way to innovate. That is why we are already working with numerous Graphene Flagship consortium members.

We've looked at how Grafren works on the development of graphene-based electrically conductive fabrics. However, our following stage 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.

This is why we are investigating the use of a layered material with strong insulating properties, such as hexagonal boron nitride, on graphene-coated fibers. However, using the same coating technologies as we've already used on graphene, multi-coatings on individual fibers may be conceivable. With increased porosity and permeability, this can help to sustain the textile structure. In practice, we may design a printed circuit board (PCB) that is integrated into a piece of fabric.

Finally, we hope to build a digital textile interface (DTI) enabling human-machine communication in the future. 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.


Dongmumucustom was established in 2009.

Chunxuan Sportswear was established in 2009. Has been focusing on providing high-quality sportswear OEM services. It has become one of the designated suppliers and manufacturers of more than 70 sportswear brand retailers and wholesalers worldwide. We can provide personalized label customization services for sports leggings, gym clothes, sports bras, sports jackets, sports vests, sports T-shirts, cycling clothes and other products. We have strong P&D department and production tracking system to achieve fine quality and short lead time for mass production.

Has been focusing on providing high-quality outdoor clothing OEM services. It has become one of the designated suppliers and manufacturers of more than 70 outdoor clothing brand retailers and wholesalers around the world. We can provide personalized label customization services for coats, jackets, hoodies, windbreaker, skiwear, puffer jackets and down jackets and other products. We have a strong R&D department and production tracking system to achieve good quality and short lead time for mass production.

After years of development, we have become one of the world's top suppliers and manufacturers of yoga wear, sportswear, bicycle wear and other products. Relying on modern management system and advanced technological process, we provide the best OEM service for customers in the global sportswear industry.

We have many years of experience in the export of sportswear to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and other countries, and maintain long-term cooperation with some brand sportswear dealers in The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and other European countries.

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