In the 21st century, advancement in textiles have been directed to the development of smart textiles and E- textiles by employing fibers equipped with specific properties, including the electrical, thermal, waterproof and other technical characteristics.
Several strategies have been developed to fabricate conductive textiles for various purposes. But still now the main obstacle in the development of smart textile is integrating smart devices, conductive materials with fibers, fabric structure and different parts of cloth due to overweight, rigidness, non-resistance to water etc.
Graphene is the thinnest material known to the world and only one atom thick, an atom is a million times thinner than the diameter of a single human hair. It has some amazing properties, it is fantastically strong, very light, extremely flexible, highly transparent and it conducts electricity and heat better than almost any other material. This new material of the future will revolutionize all sectors, including the textile sector, both from the technical point of view and from the design of intelligent clothing.
It can be applied in smart textile temperature sensors, electrical sensors and can replace synthetic fibers (polyester, nylon), due to the lightness, greater elasticity and greater conductivity. It can also reduce weight in clothes, and decrease the storage volume of them. The graphene fibers can be used to introduce chemical sensing properties into textile materials by means of a screen printing method.
Graphene has already made a huge blast in the next step of wearable technology. Recently, researchers teamed up with a wearable technology company to unveil the world’s first Light Black Dress (LBD) containing graphene at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. The dress has changed color in sync with the wearer’s breathing, using tiny LED lights where graphene was used to power the LED lights and as a sensor to record the wearer’s breathing.
Due to the thermal conductive properties of graphene, the warmth produced by the human body is preserved and distributed evenly in cold climates and allows an even body temperature during physical activity.
Graphene has also strong cytotoxicity towards bacteria. So, this can be highlighted for maternity clothes to create coatings that prevent the growth of bacteria on the surface of the fabrics, thus protecting the pregnant against possible diseases transmitted by bacteria. This type of protection will be very useful in gynecologists, nurses and midwives clothing who assist the birthing woman in order to avoid spreading bacterial infections in newborns.