Smart clothing is different from basic clothing in terms of the functions performed. Its functions include sensing and monitoring of physical body metabolism, including moisture, temperature and respiratory rhythm patterns, habits, behaviours, and maintenance of emotional and physical wellness.
If a bit of garment prepared from an intelligent textile can serve these, it’s crucial to know its working, functions, need, market share and future demand.
Clothing is that the only medium which will always or altogether the conditions stick with the physical body. Second, being next to the skin, it can easily become a cloth to sense body movement. Third, a cloth is flexible in nature and may be moulded into the desired shape. Another aspect of clothing is that it can act as a piece of aid for electronic media. Composites of fibres, yarn or fabric with metal also can impart comfort to the physical body. It can easily become a medium for man-machine interaction.
Need For Fusion – Smart Clothing
People now are generally seen carrying electronic gadgets like mobiles phones, advanced wristwatches, headphones, iPods and laptops, which became essentials. The sale of such gadgets is witnessing an upward curve and their market volume is probably going to ascertain a surge. If people are indeed getting to carry these gadgets for many of the time during a day, then merging these two fields can prove fruitful.
The Mixture Of Textile and Electronics
One category of smart textiles is named ‘e-textiles’, which are a mixture of textile and electronics. Modified textile material and miniaturised electronic devices create smart clothing. These are like ordinary cloth providing special functions in various situations, consistent with the planning and application. Electronic gadgets like chips, microphones, LEDs and low voltage wires are often merged with textiles.
The Evolution of Smart Clothing
The evolution of smart clothing is often loosely summarised thus. The first-generation smart clothing provided space in clothes needed to hold portable devices conveniently also as wire-guides (or path) for earphones. subsequent generation integrated electronic devices into clothing. for instance, fibre-based electric wires that use metal fibre are inserted into the garments and tiny electronic devices are attached to the garments.
Smart clothing is a new sort of apparel created by fusing electronic engineering and apparel design. the method of emergence offers electronic functionality and textile characteristics. to urge the right combination, materials like carbon, silicon, metal particles and conductive inks are used.
The Essential Raw Materials
The essential raw materials are Carbon/metal particles, Filling synthetic yarns as well as the Fibres coated with conductive polymers.
It is often fabricated into a woven, or knitted or embroidered into fabrics. These raw materials generally contain some specific functionality/characteristics that allow them to perform a specific function as per usage.
Special characteristics of smart materials
Shape memory materials: Induce mechanical vibrations in clothing, use of shape memory alloy (SMA) and shape memory polymer (SMP) properties.
Chromic materials: These have chameleon-like fibres, which may change colours consistent with external conditions, offering photoluminescence (preferred for party wear) and optical luminescence.
Electronic & conductive textiles: The textile material itself can conduct electricity either in fibre or yarn form or by using coatings on the fabric. Polyaniline and polypropylene are conductive polymers. Bekinox chrome steel multi-filament yarns and X-silver are examples.