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Functional electronics textiles for smart integration


Project Title: Functional electronics textiles for smart integration
Acronym:  FUNTEX
Programme: PNII - ERA –NET CrossTexNet

Financing Contract nr. 7-036/15.04.2011

Duration: 15.04.2011 - 10.09.2013

Total budget of the international project: 677000 euro

Total budget granted by the programme PARTENERIATE:  115000 euro(488750 lei)
Own contribution: 148750 lei

Partners:

  • PERARIA (IT) – coordinator
  • MICROELECTRONICA (RO) - partner
  • INSTITUTUL NATIONAL DE CERCETARE-DEZVOLTARE PENTRU TEXTILE SI PIELARIE - INCDTP (RO)  - partner

Abstract international project
The goal of FUNTEX is to research and develop smart textiles integrating electronics such as photovoltaic cells, silicon based chips, thin-film batteries and into lighting modules stretchable structures. Last innovations on plastic electronics have offered to the manufacturers a very low-cost way to add intelligent or computing power to a wide range of surfaces such as plastic or fabrics. The growing interest of industries in the frame of these topics is confirmed by an active participation at the main EU platforms (Euratex, OLAE, OE-A…). This development will aid the commercialization of new applications with a wide range of possibilities in many market sectors.
FUNTEX project is in line with above vision and the target is the research and production of smart electronics textiles. Until now, only bendable flexible circuits are developed, but not stretchable. Moreover the electrical contacts between circuits (woven in or embroidered to the surface of the textile fabric) and electronic devices (LED, sensors, etc.) are generally rigid, being formed by crimping, soldering or by using conductive adhesives. Nevertheless such processes lead to fragile devices in which the damage risk is really high.
In order to overcome these drawbacks the project aims to develop printable circuits on textile structures using conductive inks and resins based on metal nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes or conductive polymers. The great advantage of such materials lives in the enhancement of local contacts at nanoscale among the conductive grains, promoting electrical conductivity and flexibility. By selecting special textile structures and pre-treatments, the local degradation due to the heating effects will be avoided. The final goal is to achieve fabrics integrating electronic devices and electronic circuitry into the structure of stretchable fabrics for functional inflatable advertising articles. Such integration leads to an enhancement of functionalities though energy generation systems (piezoelectric or a-silicon, DSSC, CIS, CIGS bendable solar cells), micrometer silicon based CPUs, sensors, for solar power harvesting, lighting modules (LED array or TFEL) and thin film Li-ion batteries for energy storage.

General Objective: The research and development of smart textile materials integrating flexible electronic components.

Specific Objectives:
1. Definition of the technical characteristics of the textile materials
2. The development of the printing technologies circuits on flexible materials
3. Integration of the electronic components
4. Technical evaluation of integrated electronics
5. Economic evaluation of the developed systems.

Estimated results

  • Textile materials selection
  • Conductive inks selection
  • Printing of the textile materials with conductive inks
  • LEDs integration in the printed electrical circuits
  • Analyses of the textile materials characteristics and integrated electrical circuits.

Results obtained so far

1. Textile materials selection
The following textile materials have been selected:  100% polyester, polyester and polyamide coated with polyurethane and PVC.

2. Conductive inks selection.
The following conductive inks have been selected, analysed and tested:
► conductive inks based on carbon: XZ 302-1 HV; CHSN 8032 si 26-8203, CHSN 8002 (SunChemicals, USA);
► conductive inks based on silver: REXALFA RA FS 007 si REXALFA RA FS 045 (TOYO INK, Japonia); DuPont Silver 5064, 5028, 5029, LF131, 7740 (DuPont , USA).

3. Experiments and development of screen printing technology of the electrical circuits on textile materials
► optimization of screen printing processes, respective the number of print passes, temperature, curing and drying  time.

4. Analyses of the textile materials characteristics and integrated electrical circuits
► evaluation of the physical-mechanical characteristics, electrical resistance and durability of the circuits.