ProjectLefTex: Lightweight electro-active fibres/textiles/layers and preparation of novel devices

Labs & TestbedsElectromagnetic Lab
LefTex: Lightweight electro-active fibres/textiles/layers and preparation of novel devices

September 1 2009 the project ”Lightweight electro-active fibres/textiles/layers and preparation of novel devices” (Lef-Tex) started with participants from both academia and research institutes. The project is funded by a grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) within their call for materials research. The basis for the research activities is a close interaction between the participants each of which contributing with their unique competence. The participants are Chalmers University of Technology (Materials and Manufacturing Technology), Swerea-IVF, University of Borås (School of Engineering), Acreo Swedish ICT – Sensor Systems and Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow).

Short description of the content of the project

The overall objective of the work is to develop new lightweight and functional fibres, textiles and layers. All materials/components will be based on polymeric nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs), carbon black or carbon nanodiscs (CNDs). The polymers, modified in a suitable manner, exhibit an enhanced piezoelectric effect and obtain a higher electrical conductivity that can be used in sensor systems, energy-harvesting, heating applications, changed light refracting properties or improved electrical insulating which in turn can be implemented into new products.

Piezoelectric fibres

One of the goals in this project is to manufacture and analyze piezoelectric active polymer fibres. The novel piezoelectric fibres can be fully integrated in a textile, either as a tiny single fibre sensor or large area sensor, and can be used for both force/strain sensing as well in energy-harvesting applications. The fibre contains an elastic conducting polymer in the centre and a piezo-active PVDF layer around the centre electrode. By using a second electrode material around the PVDF layer and subjecting force/strain to the fibre results in a piezoelectric output voltage from the fibre. The manufactured piezoelectric fibre has the same piezoelectric properties as commercial piezoelectric polymer films. The fibre has a diameter in the range of 60 µm.