Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK and Jiangnan University in China have designed a low-cost, sustainable and environmentally-friendly method for making conductive cotton textiles using graphene-based ink. These fabrics could lead to smart textiles and interactive clothes that will find applications in healthcare, wearables, Internet of Things and more.
The team created inks of chemically modified graphene flakes that are more adhesive to cotton fibers than unmodified graphene. Heat treatment after depositing the ink on the fabric improves the conductivity of the modified graphene. The adhesion of the modified graphene to the cotton fiber is similar to the way cotton holds colored dyes and allows the fabric to remain conductive after several washes.
The team created a wearable motion sensor based on the conductive cotton. The environmental compatibility of graphene and its strong adhesion to cotton make the graphene-cotton strain sensor ideal for wearable applications.