The contact resistance of two interlacing electro-conductive yarns embedded in a hybrid woven fabric will constitute a problem for electro-conductive textiles under certain circumstances. A high contact resistance can induce hotspots, while a variable contact resistance may cause malfunctioning of the components that are interconnected by the electro-conductive yarns. Moreover, the contact robustness should be preserved over time and various treatments such as washing or abrading should not alter the functioning of the electro-conductive textiles. The electrical resistance developed in the contact point of two interlacing electro-conductive yarns is the result of various factors. The influence of diameter of the electro-conductive stainless steel yarns, the weave pattern, the weft density, and the abrasion on the contact resistance was investigated. Hybrid polyester fabrics were produced according to the design of experiments (DoE) and statistical models were found that describe the variation of the contact resistance with the selected input parameters. It was concluded that the diameter of the stainless steel warp and weft yarns has a statistically significant influence on the contact resistance regardless of the weave. Weft density had a significant influence on the contact resistance but only in case of the twill fabrics. Abrasion led to an increase in contact resistance regardless of the weave pattern and the type of stainless steel yarn that was used. Finally, a combination of parameters that leads to plain and twill fabrics with low contact resistance and robust contacts is recommended.
Electro-conductive (EC) yarns can be woven into a hybrid fabric to enable electrical current to flow through the fabric from one component A to another component B. These hybrid fabrics form the bases of woven e-textiles. However, at the crossing point of an EC yarn in warp and in weft direction, there is a contact resistance and thus generation of heat may occur in this area. Both phenomena are inseparable: if the contact resistance in the EC contact increases, the generated heat will increase as well. Predicting this electrical and thermal behavior of EC contacts in hybrid woven fabrics with stainless steel yarns is possible with a mathematical model based on the behavior of a metal oxide varistor (MOV). This paper will discuss in detail how this can be achieved.
Electrically conducting inks were screen printed on various textile substrates. The samples were dry cleaned with the usual chemicals in order to investigate the influence of the mechanical treatment on the electrical conductivity. It was found that dry cleaning has a tremendous influence on this electrical conductivity. For several samples, it is observed that the electrical resistance increases with the square of the number of dry cleaning cycles. In order to explain this observation a theoretical model and a numerical simulation have been carried out, by assuming that dry cleaning cycles introduce a crack in the conducting layer. The theoretical analysis and the numerical analysis both confirmed the experimental observations.
The stability of wearable textile antennas after 20 reference washing cycles was evaluated by measuring the reflection coefficient of different antenna prototypes. The prototypes’ conductive parts were screen-printed on several textile substrates using two different silver-based conductive inks. The necessity of coating the antennas with a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) coating was investigated by comparing coated with uncoated antennas. It is shown that covering the antennas with the TPU layer not only protects the screen-printed conductive area but also prevents delamination of the multilayered textile fabric substrates, making the antennas washable for up to 20 cycles. Furthermore, it is proven that coating is not necessary for maintaining antenna operation and this up to 20 washing cycles. However, connector detachment caused by friction during the washing process was the main problem of antenna performance degradation. Hence, other flexible, durable methods should be developed for establishing a stable electrical connection.