Textiles in the biggest research initiative ever in Europe – Graphene Flagship

Textiles in the biggest research initiative ever in Europe – Graphene Flagship

The topic of the biggest research initiative in Europe ever is the new groundbreaking material: the super material graphene. Graphene has various application areas, amongst others textiles and wearables. There are already commercial products made out of graphene, and depending on the use case, there is already raw material available for R&D and production purposes. Happy Textiles is an associate member of Graphene Flagship research initiative (https://graphene-flagship.eu) and co-operates with the Innovation and Business Development section of the vast research program. This is led by Chalmers Industriteknik (the commercial R&D foundation by Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden).

 

In this blog post we tell you some quick facts about graphene and tell you about three textile use cases of graphene by opening up three research projects from Graphene Flagship.

 

Graphene in a nutshell

 

Why various industries are so excited about graphene? The list of its properties and functionalities is very promising: it’s heat and electricity conductive and it’s one of the lightest and strongest materials in the world. Graphene can be used in various forms, e.g. as a liquid or powder. The application areas closest to Happy Textiles are fibers and coatings on textiles, material in wearables technology in sensoring, and applications in the biomedical, health and wellbeing sector.

 

 

Photo by University of Manchester

Graphene is already here. Depending on the application and the purpose, it might be accessible as well for SMEs as corporations. In several cases it is available for both R&D purposes and commercial production for more or less every company. When you are considering using graphene, make sure of what you are going to get – as in any material, the quality can highly differ, and so does the functionalities.

Next we will present three research projects carried out under the Graphene Flagship concerning textile applications.

 

Electrically conductive, long-lasting yarns

 

Built in functions are often desired functions in textiles. They tend to be more user friendly and have less design limitations than producing the same functions by other means. Graphene is wished to increase the conductivity of the textile, improve the reliability of the electric features, and lengthen the lifetime of the electrically conductive yarns. The project “Graphene in Textiles” by Inuheat Group (a Swedish company producing wearable heating products), Smart Textiles at University of Borås and Swerea IF (a Swedish research institute) tested three different ways to add graphene to the yarn: conducting the yarn with graphene, melting fiber with graphene, and combining these two. If you want to read about the project in more detail, please visit: https://siografen.se/project/grafen-i-textilier/.

 

Sophisticated textiles with graphene coatings

 

In the project “Graphene Coatings for High-End textiles” FOV Fabrics, Chalmers University of Technology and Chalmers Industriteknik (industry technology center) were deepening the knowledge of cost-efficient ways how graphene can be used in the textile industry in 2018. The material doesn’t always need to be entirely graphene in order to enjoy the benefits of the super material. This way there is no need to compromise the desired features of the traditional materials either. Graphene coating is a surface treatment method to achieve the benefits of both materials. The coating can be applied with different methods to turn the textile for instance UV resistant and advanced in transporting moisture. These innovative, sophisticated textiles would be excellent, upper value chain products for countries with advanced textile technology knowledge. Please read more about the project carried out in 2018 here: https://siografen.se/project/grafenbelaggningar-for-exklusiva-textilmaterial/.

 

Reducing heat with textiles: HeatReTex

 

Graphene can also be used cost efficiently as an additive added to other materials. In the “Heat-reducing textile HeatReTex” research project SAAB Barracuda, Swerea IVF and the Swedish national graphene program SIO Grafen found out that graphene as a 2D filler material in the fiber improves the thermal conductivity of the fiber. One suitable application area would therefore be camouflage materials. Adding value to the fiber and making fibers themselves smart is a great possibility both for the advanced textile industries with deep textile-technical knowledge and for the product developers. Please read the whole project description here: https://siografen.se/project/varmereducerande-textil/.

 

Do you want to know more about graphene? Are you looking for the right graphene application area specialist to talk to? We are happy to help you forward! Please contact sini.saalasti@happytextiles.fi.