Applications of Graphene in Textiles and Composite industry

Engr. Dilruba Yeasmin
B.Sc. in Textile Engineering
Bangladesh University of Textiles;  Dhaka-1208; Bangladesh

Graphene is one of the carbon allotropes containing a single layer of atoms positioned in a two-dimensional (2D) hexagonal or honeycomb lattice. In fact, graphene is responsible for some other allotropes of carbon like carbon nanotubes (single walled, SWCNTs, double walled, DWCNTs and/or multi walled, MWCNTs), fullerenes, etc. Graphene is one of the most amazing discoveries of the 21st century and it is considered as the miracle material because of its marvellous properties more specifically for their outstanding electrical and thermal properties. Graphene for its instinctive properties are now being used in all the advanced applications and applications in smart textiles, aerospace industry, and energy storage are worth mentioning. Graphene has been identified to lay the foundation of new horizon of possibilities in the next generation materials for multipurpose applications. 

Graphene lattice

In this short review, we will come to know about the forms of Graphene being used, its synthesis methods and its potential application areas.

Forms of Graphene: It can be used in the forms mentioned below-
  • Pure graphene fiber 
  • Composite or blended graphene fiber (e.g. graphene/alpaca fiber) 
  • Graphene-based fabric (from pure or blended graphene yarn) 
  • Graphene-based polymer nanocomposite without textile fiber reinforcements 
  • Graphene-based polymer nanocomposite reinforced with textile fibers (which is also termed as multiscale composite) 
    • Direct Integration method: 
      • Directly incorporated on textile fiber or fabrics by Plasma treatment followed by the chemically attachment, interleaving, Electrophoretic deposition, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), etc. methods. 
    • Indirect Integration method: 
      • Graphene nanomaterials first mixed with polymer and then applied on textile fiber or fabrics by mixing with polymer matrix and then coating, melt-mixing process, spray deposition, etc. methods.

 

So graphene materials can be classified as below- 
1. Graphene-based textiles: 
a. Pure graphene fiber, 
b. Blended graphene fiber, 
c. Graphene fabrics. 

2. Graphene-based composites: 
a. Graphene-based composite without textiles 
b. Graphene-based composites reinforced with textiles 

Graphene synthesis methods: The most popular and common synthesis methods of graphene nanomaterials are mentioned as below- 

A process flow chart of Graphene synthesis

Application areas of Graphene-based polymer composites:
 
1. Efficient electromagnetic interference shielding application 
2. Solar cell applications 
3. Biomedicine (as wound dressing, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering scaffold, antibacterial packaging and drug delivery systems, water purification), and production of antibacterial paper - Antibacterial applications 
4. Energy storage / supercapacitor [wearable and portable electronic devices/e-textiles] 
5. 3D printing 
6. Membrane-water separation technology 
7. Applications in the manufacture of aircraft bodies, ballistic missiles, sporting equipment, marine applications and extra-terrestrial ventures. 

Applications of graphene-based nanocomposites

Graphene and Graphene-based nanocomposites have been proved promising materials for the advanced engineering applications as mentioned above.

References:
1. DOI 10.1007/s12666-014-0408-5
2. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201301926
3. DOI: 10.1039/c0ee00295j
4. DOI: 10.1039/C6TB02442D
5. doi.org/10.1007/s10853-018-03244-3

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