The Portuguese researcher Paulo Rocha, from the Centre for Functional Ecology of Universidade de Coimbra (UC), is part of the team of scientists who for the first time produced piezoelectric nylon fibres, paving the way for the use of this fabric in smart and wearable electronic textiles.
The team of researchers, led by Kamal Asadi, from the Max-Planck Institute, in Germany, and professor at the University of Bath, in the United Kingdom, focused on nylon – which is a piezoelectric polymer – precisely because it is widely used by the textile industry. However, its piezoelectric functionality in the form of fibre had not been achieved since its invention.
Paulo Rocha explains that piezoelectric materials “are widely used in sensor applications, and are among the viable candidates for capturing energy from mechanical vibrations, such as body movement”.
“For the first time, we uncovered the piezoelectric phase in nylon fibres, and showed that they can be used for creating and detecting electricity. Considering the fact that nylons are highly sought after materials in the textile industry, the demonstration of piezoelectric nylon fibres will mean substantial progress for the industry ”, reveals Paulo Rocha.