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Colour & Materials
Published: 16 Feb 2018

High-Performance Yarns for Innovative Materials

Extra
Twistron yarns generate electricity

International scientists and researchers are exploiting the capabilities of nanofibres and nanotechnology to produce a new generation of high-performance yarns for clothing and protective armour.

  • ‘Twistron’ Energy-Harvesting Yarns: A research team of scientists from the University of Texas and South Korean Hanyang University has produced energy-harvesting yarns that can generate electricity.

    The high-tech yarns could be used to create self-powered materials where the use of a power source is impractical – for example, they could be employed as self-powered breathing sensors when sewn into clothes. Constructed using carbon nanotubes and coated in an electrolyte (such as a solution of salt and water), the yarn’s energy increases when stretched or twisted.

    The team hopes this will eventually lead to harvesting larger amounts of energy, such as from the motion of ocean waves. 
  • High-Strength Ultrafine Fibres: Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have developed a new technique that produces exceptionally strong and resilient nanofibres. The fibres could be used for numerous applications, such as protective armour materials and nanocomposites.

    The process uses a variation of gel spinning combined with the addition of electrical forces. The team believes the new fibres can rival high-performance fibres such as Kevlar on a per-weight basis, making protective materials stronger, but less dense.

For more materials addressing the need for strength, durability and high performance, see Super Materials: New Innovations. For technical developments within sports apparel and equipment, see ISPO Munich 2018.

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