A doctoral student at the University of Borås in Sweden has developed a way to produce conductive textile fibers while keeping the textile flexible. Called “Ionofibers,” they use ionic liquids, which are salt in a liquid state but without water. Ionic liquid is a more stable electrolyte than salt water as nothing evaporates. The fibers match the type of conduction our body uses and could have future uses as textile batteries, textile displays or textile muscles.
“My research is about producing electrically conductive textile fibers, and ultimately yarns, by coating non-metals sustainably on commercial yarns,” says Claude Huniade. “The biggest challenge is in the balance between keeping the textile properties and adding the conductive feature.”
Perhaps the most promising aspect of the researcher’s work is the fact the materials are durable and could therefore be made at scale without fear of damaging or compromising their conductivity.
“The fibers can also be woven or knitted without damaging them mechanically while retaining their conductivity,” Huniade says. “Surprisingly, they were even smoother to process into fabrics than the commercial yarns they are made from.”