Electrically Conductive Nanocomposite Fibers for Flexible and Structural Electronics

Applied Sciences 12(3), 941 (2022)

The following paper presents a simple, low-cost, and repeatable manufacturing process for fabricating conductive, elastic carbon-elastomer nanocomposite fibers for applications in the textile industry and beyond. The presented method allows for the manufacturing of fibers with a diameter of 0.2 mm, containing up to 50 vol. % of graphite powder, 10 vol. % of CNT, and a mix of both fillers. As a result, resistivity below 0.2 Ωm for the 0.2 mm-diameter fibers was achieved. Additionally, conductive fibers are highly elastic, which makes them suitable for use in the textile industry as an element of circuits. The effect of strain on the change in resistance was also tested. Researches have shown that highly conductive fibers can withstand strain of up to 40%, with resistivity increasing nearly five times compared to the unstretched fiber. This research shows that the developed composites can also be used as strain sensors in textronic systems. Finally, functional demonstrators were made by directly sewing the developed fibers into a cotton fabric. First, the non-quantitative tests indicate the feasibility of using the composites as conductive fibers to power components in textronic systems and for bending detection.