It is possible to create electrically conductive textiles without metals

Electrically conductive fibres are key components in smart and interactive textiles. Silver or copper threads are for example often integrated into textiles to provide materials with conductive properties. Now, doctoral student Tariq Bashir at the School of Engineering and Smart Textiles at the University of Borås and Chalmers has successfully constructed electrically conductive textiles without the help of metals.
 
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Although there already are conductive fibres with different application areas today, they either suffer from low capacity for conducting electricity or from low durability of the material, making it break or crumble quite easily. The difficulty lies in constructing textile materials with good conductive properties which are at the same time sufficiently durable, pliable or firm depending on their area of application.
– My work is to develop conductive fibres using conductive polymers in combination with ordinary textiles, Tariq Bashir explains.                  

Vaporizing chemicals into textiles

He has used a method that involves exposing the fibres to vaporized, electrically conductive polymers (plastics). The condensation covers the surface of textile fibres in the form of a film and provides them with excellent conductive and mechanic properties. In addition, the textiles remain flexible and feel like ordinary, untreated textiles.
− There’s a bright future for these fibres. Take solar panels, for example. Using a layer-upon-layer method, it’s possible to alternate between layers of chemicals providing different characteristics, Tariq Bashir explains.

He has been doing work on a small scale concerning solar cells in particular. However, more resources and increased research collaborations are needed to achieve further progress. Tariq’s electrically conductive polymer fibres have already attracted interest, however. Umeå University is investigating possible applications for his conductive textiles in biofuel cells, Campus Norrköping (Linköping University) looks for possible applications connected to thermoelectricity, Linköping University sees possibilities of using knitted structures for biomimetic applications (biomimetics is concerned with imitating nature to construct smart technical solutions) and SP has taken an interest in the fibres because they may assist in the construction of membranes for antistatic air filters.

Public defence of doctoral thesis

On the 8th of March, Tariq Bashir defends his thesis Conjugated Polymer-based Conductive Fibres for Smart Textile Applications at Chalmers.

Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Place: Lecture hall KA, Kemigården 4, Gothenburg
Opponent: Professor Pertti Nousiainen, Textile and Fiber Materials, Department of Materials Science, Tampere University of Technology, Finland

More information about the thesis

Contact

Tariq Bashir, Phone: +46 (0)33-435 59 22, E-mail tariq.bashir@hb.se This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Professor Mikael Skrifvars, Phone: +46 (0)33-435 44 97, Mobile phone: +46 (0)708-196146 E-mail: mikael.skrifvars@hb.se This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Facts Tariq Bashir

Age: 31
Was admitted as a doctoral student at the School of Engineering, the University of Borås in 2009. Main supervisor is Mikael Skrifvars, Professor in Polymer Technology, and assisting supervisor is Nils-Krister Persson, senior lecturer and researcher at the Swedish School of Textiles.
Previous studies and experience: First-cycle studies in Chemical Engineering and second-cycle studies in Polymer and Process Engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan. On leave from a teaching position at the same university.