Electrically conductive highly elastic polyamide/lycra fabric treated with PEDOT:PSS and polyurethane
Journal article, 2019
Conductive elastic fabrics are desirable in wearable electronics and related applications. Highly elastic conductive polyamide/lycra knitted fabric was prepared using intrinsically conductive polymer poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) blended with polyelectrolyte poly (styrene sulfonate) (PSS) using easily scalable coating and immersion methods. The effects of these two methods of treatments on uniformity, electromechanical property, stretchability, and durability were investigated. Different grades of waterborne polyurethanes (PU) were employed in different concentrations to improve the coating and adhesion of the PEDOT:PSS on the fabric. The immersion method gave better uniform treatment, high conductivity, and durability against stretching and cyclic tension than the coating process. The surface resistance increased from similar to 1.7 and similar to 6.4 /square at 0% PU to similar to 3.7 and similar to 12.6 /square at 50% PU for immersion and coating methods, respectively. The treatment methods as well as the acidic PEDOT:PSS did not affect the mechanical properties of the fabric and the fabric showed high strain at break of similar to 650% and remained conductive until break. Finally, to assess the practical applicability of the treated fabric for wearable e-textiles, the change in surface resistance was assessed by cyclically stretching 10 times at 100% strain and washing in a domestic laundry for 10 cycles. The resistance increased only by a small amount when samples were stretched cyclically at 100% strain, and the samples showed good durability against washing.