The smart textiles industry is poised for another year of record-breaking growth. R&D within the industry is almost unparalleled as forward-thinking scientists and brands race towards the next frontier in materials.
B&W Fiberglass’ solutions are used in a wide array of smart textile applications. Our glass fiber technology has myriad applications within this growing industry. Let’s take a look at three recent developments in the sector that hold significant promise for the future.
- Storing Data in Conductive Thread
Smart clothing is nothing new, but scientists at the University of Washington are working on materials that can store data (and even unlock doors!) without the use of sensors or wearable electronics. They’re utilizing the magnetic properties of conductive thread to store data and even visual information that can be employed at a later time. The fabrics are “programmed” by physically aligning the threads’ magnetic poles in correspondence with 1s and 0s that represent digital data. The materials are even said to retain their magnetic properties after washing and drying!
- Zero-defect Non-Crimp Fabrics
Defects in composite non-crimp fabrics – used in aerospace, marine, and alternative energy – have long been notoriously difficult to identify. Increasingly demanding applications of these materials necessitate fewer defects in the form of undulations, ripples, and gaps. So-called “smart” technology is automating the process of quality control for producers of these fabrics, reducing the pressure on human oversight to catch deviations. Digitization technologies look for defects at every level of the production process, from the homogeneity of threads to undulations in previous layers, and can suggest real-time corrections that not only salvage the product but produce a zero-defect result.
- Protection Against Toxic Chemicals
Scientists are working on determining whether electronic signals embedded in smart fabrics could actually be used to produce “smart” gear that protects its wearer against hazardous chemicals. The textiles in question can use sensors to alert the wearer if chemicals (such as gas) are permeating the hazardous gear, actively alarming if there is a tear in the fabric, for example, or if conditions have worsened dramatically. Ideally, these SOFT textile materials could be used to build protective gear for first responders, military members, and all emergency service personnel who rely on traditional Hazmat suits for protection.
Materials science has come farther in the past ten years than in the past one hundred. Smart textiles are a relatively new industry aided by constant advancement in both electronics and materials themselves; B&W Fiberglass is excited to be part of the process. Our products are used in some of the highest-tech sectors on the planet, including soft textiles.
Would you like to find out more about B&W’s ever-expanding capabilities in the field of glass fiber technology? Reach out to the B&W Fiberglass team today to talk about how we can improve the performance of your materials.