A New Generation of ‘Smart’ Textiles 

by Mike Hunter

We are now in the era of not just rapidly expanding intelligent devices but also of intelligent materials. Porcher Industries, a global pioneer in high-performance thermoplastic composites and technical textiles, designs and produces innovative materials with properties tailored to highly targeted uses and recently launched a new generation of intelligent textiles. These fabrics can integrate functions into the fiber, such as illumination of certain zones, temperature measurement or detection of a remote presence. There are numerous opportunities for these ultra-high-performance materials in a wide spectrum of markets that include aeronautics, automotive, industry, construction, sports and leisure, and safety.

With luminous textiles, certain zones in the fabric illuminate, so that shapes can appear or words can be written on them — without using cables or bulbs. This innovation would considerably increase safety for cyclists and motorcyclists by making them more visible, for example, through inserts on vests or jackets. For the construction sector, floor slabs will be able to integrate signage information that can be read directly on the floors or the walls, and can be modified remotely.

For aeronautical and automotive markets, interior cabin design can be entirely revamped to improve customer experience, and there’s more. These new intelligent textiles can replace the arsenal of heavy, bulky cables and electronics, which is an incredible advantage for aeronautical, automobile and train designers in their continued pursuit of light and space.

Heat-sensitive textiles, which can measure temperature, have a diverse range of applications, such as improved safety in industry, transport, HVAC engineering or construction. For example, alarm systems can be activated if a specific temperature threshold is exceeded in industrial pipes.

These intelligent textiles are designed for seamless integration into industrial processes. Along with high-performance features, they are equipped with exceptional properties in flexibility, finesse, precision, lightness and durability. 

Photo courtesy of Porcher Industries

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