New smart fabric could offer advanced protection for emergency crew

Smart fabric

Smart fabric

New technology harnesses electronic signals in a smart fabric that could help us to protect against toxic chemicals.

The development could help the military, emergency service personnel and other workers that depend on protection.

Researchers from Dartmouth College describes the creation of new smart fabrics, Self-Organized Framework on Textiles (SOFT), is the demonstration of detection, capture, pre-concentration and filtration of gases in a wearable that uses conductive, porous materials integrated into soft textiles.


According to the study, the SOFT devices have the potential for use in sensing applications ranging from real-time gas detection in wearable systems, to electronically accessible adsorbent layers in protective equipment like gas masks.

“By adding this fabric to a protective suit, sensors can alert the user if a chemical is penetrating the hazardous-material gear,” said, Katherine Mirica, an assistant professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College.

Source: ACS Publications

However, in the study researchers integrate the metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) into cotton and polyester fabrics to produce the e-textiles.

Also, the new smart fabric can detect toxic chemicals. In addition to sensing the chemicals, the e-textiles can capture and filter the hazardous toxins.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)

“MOFs are the future of designer materials, just like plastics in the post-WWII era,” said Mirica. However, the performance of smart fabrics essentially safety and security.

Researchers also describe a one-step e-textile fabrication method for the use of direct self-assembly to deposit the conductive material on textiles.

However, the wearable electronics study to have great potential in various areas. Soldiers, emergency personnel, factory workers and others could benefit from the new smart fabrics. The materials could also help medical patients that require monitoring of specific airborne chemicals.

According to researchers, the SOFT devices are featuring MOFs to display good conductivity, increase porosity, flexibility and stability to wash. The fabrics also stable in heat.

More information: [JACS]