Wearable technology becomes more useable with a new development using graphene for printed electronic devices. The University of Manchester has demonstrated flexible battery-like devices printed directly on to textiles using a simple screen-printing technique answering the major problem of wearable tech being limited due to the problem of powering devices without cumbersome battery packs.
Devices known as supercapacitors are one way to achieve this. A supercapacitor acts similarly to a battery but allows for rapid charging which can fully charge devices in seconds.
Now a solid-state flexible supercapacitor device has been demonstrated by using conductive graphene-oxide ink to print onto cotton fabric.
As reported in the journal 2-D Materials, the printed electrodes exhibited excellent mechanical stability due to the strong interaction between the ink and textile substrate.
Further development of graphene-oxide printed supercapacitors could turn the vast potential of wearable tech into the norm.
High-performance sportswear that monitors performance, embedded health-monitoring devices, lightweight military gear, new classes of mobile communication devices and even wearable computers are just some of the applications that could become available following further research and development.
To power these new wearable devices, the energy storage system must have reasonable mechanical flexibility in addition to high energy and power density, good operational safety, long cycling life and be low cost.
Dr Nazmul Karim, knowledge exchange fellow at the National Graphene Institute and co-author of the paper said: “The development of graphene-based flexible textile supercapacitor using a simple and scalable printing technique is a significant step towards realising multifunctional next generation wearable e-textiles.
It will open up possibilities of making an environmental friendly and cost-effective smart e-textile that can store energy and monitor human activity and physiological condition at the same time.”
Graphene-oxide is a form of graphene which can be produced relatively cheaply in an ink-like solution. This solution can be applied to textiles to create supercapacitors which become part of the fabric itself.
(Source: Fashion Network)