Washable, Breathable, and Stretchable e-Textiles Wirelessly Powered by Omniphobic Silk-based Coils

Published on Sep 1, 2021in Nano Energy16.602
· DOI :10.1016/J.NANOEN.2021.106155
Marina Sala de Medeiros3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Purdue University),
Debkalpa Goswami11
Estimated H-index: 11
(MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
+ 2 AuthorsRamses V. Martinez23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Purdue University)
Abstract The commercial development of smart garments is currently hindered by significant challenges, such as dependence on batteries, reduced washability, and difficult incorporation into existing large-scale textile manufacturing technologies. This work describes an industrially scalable approach to transform conventional fabrics into smart textiles—wirelessly powered by omniphobic silk-based coils (OSCs). OSCs are stretchable and lightweight power-receiving coils that can be easily sewn onto any textile, enabling the safe wireless powering of wearable electronics via magnetic resonance coupling without compromising the comfort of the user. OSCs are composed of microfibers made of a novel silk-nanocarbon composite that benefits from the stretchability of silk fibroin and the high conductivity of multiwall carbon nanotubes and chitin carbon nanoflakes. The surface of the OSC-powered electronic textiles (e-textiles) is rendered omniphobic—both hydrophobic and oleophobic—using a spray-based silanization method, which imbues the e-textile with waterproof and stain repellent properties without compromising its flexibility, stretchability, or breathability. OSCs exhibit excellent stability in high moisture environments and under mechanical deformations, allowing them to undergo 50 standard machine-washing cycles without degradation in performance. Moreover, OSC-powered e-textiles can be fabricated at a low cost using scalable manufacturing processes, paving the way toward the rapid development and commercialization of machine-washable and battery-free smart clothing and reusable wearable electrophysiological sensors.
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