Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Extruded fibre fabrication

At present, information technology (IT) is based on the advancement and geometrical constraints of flat silicon substrate technology where integrated circuits are diced into small squares which are packaged and mounted onto printed circuit boards. This limits the comfortable integration of IT into simple everyday objects such as clothing and other flexible objects such as curtains and chairs, etc. The objective of the FiCom project was to overcome this limitation by embedding computing power into materials shaped in the form of fibres which can be integrated into everyday objects (e.g. wearable textiles) to give these unobtrusive sensing, memory and computing abilities while maintaining flexibility and tactile comfort.

To reach this objective, a consortium was assembled to bring together expertise in four distinct technological fields: semiconductor processing, integrated circuit technology / hardware design, advanced textile and clothing research, and materials science / fibre processing technology.

The main task of EMPA as the source of expertise in the area of materials science / fibre processing technology was to develop fibres with the chemical and physical properties and cross-sectional geometries which would permit them to be used as substrates for the application of semiconducting electronic devices. Extrusion and fibre drawing technologies were applied to the problem, and polycrystalline silicon carbide (SiC), amorphous silica glass (SiO2) and silica-filled polyethylene (SiO2-PE) nanocomposite fibres up to 125 m in length with triangular and rectangular cross-sections were successfully developed and characterized.

Furthermore, EMPA was tasked with providing a coating (sizing) for the fibres which would protect the fibres and the applied electronics from mechanical damage and chemical attack during integration into textiles and subsequent everyday use of these textiles. Several sizings available commercially for optical glass fibres were evaluated and a ultraviolet (UV) curable acrylate sizing ultimately yielded the most promising results.

The results of this work were to be disseminated in the form of publications in recognized scientific journals and presentations at conferences. EMPA contributed to this aspect of the project in the form of contributions to 5 papers (3 published in a peer-reviewed journal, 2 published in conference proceedings, and 2 in progress for publication in peer-reviewed journals) and presentations at 6 conferences (4 oral presentations, 2 posters).

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Empa Materials Science and Technology, Laboratory for High Performance Ceramics
Überlandstr. 129
8600 Dübendorf
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