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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Feasibility study of yarns and fabrics with annexed electronic functions


The project concerns a feasibility study of textile circuits made with an electronically functionalised yarn, aimed to the development of a textile yarn with electronic functions (a 'textile transistor') and to the study of the electronic behaviour of the fabric seen as a complex electronic network whose complexity and final behaviour is determined both by the electronic properties of the yarn and by its topology in the fabric. The project is divided into some fundamentals lines:
1) Project and feasibility study of fibres and yarns endowed with electronic properties;
2) Elaboration of a circuital model of the yarn which takes into account its electronic properties;
3) Determination of the yarn topology in a fabric and simulation of the electronic properties of the fabric with the aim of defining its electronic transfer function.

The project aims to assess the feasibility of yarns endowed with electronic functions and, as a consequence, the properties of fabrics made-up with such yarns. The feasibility evaluation concerns several aspects: on one hand, those concerning materials and technologies employed to obtain such yarns; on the other hand, their electrical model which allows to consider yarns as elements of a 'textile circuit', the fabric. Finally, the electronic transfer function of fabrics with different yarn topologies will be evaluated. The research idea to assess has considerable potential spin-offs in a number of fields, such as biomedicine, telecommunication, rehabilitation, sport performance monitoring, virtual reality, where there is an increasing demand for portable, fully automated, easy-to-use, remote controllable, electronic systems. Electronic yarns will allow the development of a new generation of portable electronics, wearable electronic systems.

The work will concerns several aspects:
1) materials and technologies assessment for realizing a yarn with the electronic properties of an extended field effect transistor. The device model to follow is that of a Thin Film device. According to this model the yarn should be made of three layers made with materials having different levels of electrical conductivity. The challenge is to find the most suitable materials and to assemble them with the aim of: a) obtaining good intrinsic and interface properties, which ensure good electronic properties and b) to obtain a yarn suitable to be employed in common industrial textile processes;
2) evaluation of the electronic model suitable for the yarn. This step is essential for the future development of a 'circuital textile theory and modelling as, similarly to what actually happens for silicon electronics, it is envisioned that future textile circuits will be designed on the basis of simulation software which, starting from the physical model of the single electronic component, allow to simulate the behaviour of complex circuits;
3) investigation of the possible topologies of yarns in fabrics (how many yarns employed, how many yarn crossings, 3D structure of fabrics, etc) with the aim of evaluating the electronic 'transfer function' of a fabric produced with an electronic yarn. Partners have been selected on the basis of their high complementarity, both for scientific experience, and for their different roles (academic and industrial). Such consortium has the potential to reach the goal by ensuring that not only the scientific but also the industrial requirements for the feasibility study will be fulfilled.

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Participants (3)