Liquid Metal Coated Textiles with Autonomous Electrical Healing and Antibacterial Properties
Yang, J., Nithyanandam, P., Kanetkar, S., Kwon, K. Y., Ma, J., Im, S., … Dickey, M. D. (2023, April 2). ADVANCED MATERIALS TECHNOLOGIES.
Conductive textiles are promising for human–machine interfaces and wearable electronics. A simple way to create conductive textiles by coating fabric with liquid metal (LM) particles is reported. The coating process involves dip-coating the fabric into a suspension of LM particles at room temperature. Despite being coated uniformly after drying, the textiles remain electrically insulating due to the native oxide that forms on the LM particles. Yet, they can be rendered conductive by compressing the textile to rupture the oxide and thereby percolate the particles. Thus, compressing the textile with a patterned mold can pattern conductive circuits on the textile. The electrical conductivity of these circuits increases by coating more particles on the textile. Notably, the conductive patterns autonomously heal when cut by forming new conductive paths along the edge of the cut. The textiles prove to be useful as circuit interconnects, Joule heaters, and flexible electrodes to measure ECG signals. Further, the LM-coated textiles provide antimicrobial protection against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Such simple coatings provide a route to convert otherwise insulating textiles into electrical circuits with the ability to autonomously heal and provide antimicrobial properties.