Today’s buzzword is graphene which has re-defined the present textile industry. Graphene is no less than a miracle or wonder material, offering exceptional thermal conductivity, non-cytotoxic, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial characteristics.
Graphene, derived from carbon, is more robust than diamond. You must be wondering about how to incorporate graphene into different fabric materials to reap its benefits.
Keep reading to learn about different types of graphene fabric, including protective equipment, smart clothing, and graphene jacket.
Revolution by Graphene Fabric
Clothing has always played a vital role in protecting humans from harsh cold weather, snow, rain, and harmful UV rays of the sun.
For thousands of years since the stone age, people have been using raw textiles made of natural fibers and animal fur to make clothes, coats, apparel, and different home furnishings.
However, later in the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution gave the ultimate boost to the textile sector. Furthermore, the 20th century is considered the new era of the textile industry after discovering synthetic fibers.
Courtesy of the evolving technology, many textile manufacturers, work together with researchers to develop E-textiles and smart textiles. The textile industries use advanced technology to equip thermal, weather resistance, waterproof successfully, and other electrical properties into the fibers.
Similarly, researchers device advanced strategies to enhance the usability of fabric, fibers, jackets, and other clothing by integrating conductive elements and heating panels. However, adding all these additional elements makes the clothing heavy-weight and rigid.
To address all these obstacles, Konstantin Novoselov, Andre Geim, and other collaborators of the University of Manchester UK and the Institute of Technology in Microelectronic Chernogolovka Russia developed a technique known as exfoliated graphene.
In 2004, these researchers isolated graphene sheets, the wonder material used in heated jackets and clothing. These two scientists also received a Nobel Prize for their contribution to physics in 2010.
Graphene is a marvelous strong material comprising carbon atoms connected in a hexagonal lattice arrangement.
Although stronger than diamond, graphene fabric is one of the most lightweight and thinnest materials featuring a single atom thickness. While comparing the atom and diameter of the human hair, the atom is a million times thinner.
Types of Graphene Clothing
200 times stronger than steel, graphene is known for its remarkable features, such as strength, flexibility, and lightweight. Not only that, but it conducts heat and electricity better than the other materials available today.
That’s why the textile industry is replacing synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon, with graphene fabric to minimize the weight of winter clothes and, most importantly, the storage volume.
Clothes with Built-in Smart Technology
As discussed earlier, graphene fabric offers extraordinary features, including:
- Water resistance
- Thermal conductivity
Those days aren’t far when the textile industries will be developing a wide range of graphene clothing with built-in smart technologies.
Light Black Dress (LBD)
Manchester, the second-largest city in the United Kingdom, is famous as the city of Graphene. Unveiled at the Trafford Center shopping complex in Manchester, the researchers work with wearable technology to create a little black dress (LBD) with graphene.
Graphene essentially was used as a sensor to power the LED lights to record the breathing pattern. As a result, the dress color changes in synchronization with the wearer's breathing rate.
The high-tech LBD perfectly showcased the remarkable properties of the graphene fabric. Moreover, the designers hope and forecast that graphene can be used in the future to design a dress programmed to exhibit different colors or designs.
This one of its kind dress is undoubtedly a marvelous combination of fashion and science, representing the innovation and imagination of the designers.
Graphene is a wonder material set to revolutionize the clothing and fashion industry. For instance, a group of South Korean scientists successfully developed flexible and washable smart clothing, serving as a textile-based gas sensor.
The above technique uses molecular adhesives to coat graphene on cotton, nylon, or polyester fabric to detect if gas is present in the air or not. The resistivity of the graphene-coated fabric alters depending on the gas density once graphene oxides come in contact with NO2, present in methane gases.
This way, the firefighters can determine the air condition of an area by wearing graphene-based clothes that also act as gas sensors.
Similarly, Shanghai Kyorene New Material Technology, a Chinese company, has designed a graphene fiber used to produce sportswear products. Graphene fabric efficiently wicks away the moisture to keep your body cool and dry.
On the other hand, some graphene manufacturers have developed graphene ink to design athletic clothing. These smart clothes allow the wearer to monitor their performance, movement, health, and heart rate.
As the name suggests, a graphene heated jacket by Gamma is an innovative thermal jacket comprising 100 percent graphene and heating panels. This unique jacket features a built-in heating mechanism that you can customize according to your preference.
The lightweight graphene jacket guarantees flexibility and breathability. Moreover, graphene works as a hypoallergenic and anti-odor layer to efficiently remove the moisture to keep your body dry and clean. A graphene jacket is your perfect companion to keep you dry and fresh during the hike if you are an adventurer.
Courtesy of the thermal properties of the graphene jacket, it serves as an insulator and a moisture wicket to keep you warm during the winter and vice versa.
This high-tech jacket doesn’t compromise your style as it offers a unisex exterior. Not only that, but the jacket offers ample space underneath, allowing you to wear a sweater.
This heated jacket features extra finger-less hand sleeves to enhance the overall protection against the chilly winds and snow.
Let’s briefly discuss the heating mechanism of the award-winning graphene jacket.
The jacket includes three heating panels made of carbon fiber. Graphene coupled with the heating panels guarantees uniform heat distribution throughout the body.
All you need to do is connect a power bank to the USB-A port and turn it on. Next, you can select the desired heat setting, such as low (green), medium (orange), and high (red), with the press of a button.
The versatile graphene jacket features a total of ten pockets with a premium-quality zip opening. You can store your personal belongings in the chest or front pocket. Furthermore, you’ll also find pockets, such as the inner chest, hidden sleeve, arm, and buttonable inner pocket.
Other features of the graphene heated jacket include waist drawstrings, a high neck, and three adjustable hood drawstrings.
Health and Safety Graphene Fabric
As the name suggests, protective clothing ensures the health and safety of the wearer from different hazards, including radiological, chemical, thermal, mechanical, etc.
Conventional protecting clothes are undoubtedly heavyweight and bulky with low heat dissipation. Furthermore, they are responsible for heat and physical stress, and lack of mobility.
One of the most significant safety concerns for health care workers is an infectious disease. Using appropriate protective clothing prevents the exposure of doctors and their patients to transmissible bacteria, pathogens, and viruses.
Unfortunately, the soft surfaces of the protective clothing are usually contaminated with microorganisms and pathogens. Furthermore, the biological waste present in the personal protective equipment (PPE) offers perfect conditions for the pathogens to grow and survive.
Similarly, the firefighters work in harsh hot conditions against several health hazards, such as toxic gas, thermal, and physical injuries. Furthermore, firefighters experience movement restrictions because of wearing heavy PPE, masks, gloves, self-breathing devices, helmets, and boots.
On the other hand, using graphene fabric in protective clothing overcomes the limitations mentioned above. A lightweight graphene-based protective clothing ensures freedom of movement and boosts flame resistance and antibacterial activity. Not only that, but it also offers protection against harmful UV rays and abrasion resistance.
Most importantly, a graphene fabric prevents the diffusion of harmful gases and heat to guarantee the worker’s health and safety. In addition, pure graphene exhibits excellent chemical resistance and gas impermeability thanks to the physical atomic lattice structure.
Graphene serves as a dense layer as a barrier during exposure to fire and flammable gases.
Thanks to its thermal properties, the graphene fabric keeps the wearer warm in cold weather and cool during summer. As a result, the textile industry can use graphene to modify the thermal radiation of the clothing and to create spacesuits.
It’s high time for researchers and designers to harness the thermal camouflage capabilities of graphene to conceal the wearer’s body heat from infrared cameras. When a small amount of electrical current passes through the graphene layers embedded in the fabric, it alters the infrared radiations emitted from the fabric’s surface.
As a result, graphene can successfully camouflage a person’s thermal signature from the infrared (IR) camera, which is phenomenal.
To sum up, graphene is undoubtedly a ground-breaking material offering diverse features, such as strength, durability, anti-microbial, and thermal conductivity. Incorporating graphene in the textile fabric enhances the overall properties and makes them multi-functional and suitable for different applications.
The textile industries can benefit from these properties by infusing clothing with graphene to design affordable smart clothing, sportswear, PPE, and heated jackets for consumers.