L. Cianga*, I. Cianga*, F. Tanasa*, Y. Yagci**, C. Loghin***
* "Petru Poni" Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry Iasi, Romania
** Istanbul Technical University, Department of Chemistry, Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey
*** "Gheorghe Asachi" Technical University Iasi, Faculty of Textile and Leather Engineering, Iasi, Romania
Smart textiles, an emerging high performance group of materials, consist in textiles (woven, nonwoven, knitted, printed, sewn, embroided, etc.) able to measure, react, command and achieve electronic related functionalities. Sensorised and communicative fabrics, systems and applications are currently under research and promoted as a priority. Further integration of micro- and nanotechnologies and systems in textile materials, aiming the implementation of the "e-textile" paradigm, where sensing, actuating, communicating, processing and power sourcing are seamlessly integrated on a textile, is a key for the future evolution of the R&D area, with a wide variety of potential applications.In perspective, alternative routes leading to the future of truly wearable e-textiles are possible, passing through the development and the use of devices based on organic materials and, specifically, on different types of the electroactive polymers (EAPs). In fact, all the different functionalities required for such interactive systems can, today, be exerted by devices based on organic polymers. They offer several advantages, compared with their inorganic counterparts: they are light, highly elastic, resilient, mechanically flexible, inexpensive and easy to process. They can be manufactured into many shapes, printed, sewn, or knitted into fabrics, or even woven in fiber forms directly into textile structures.
Conductive polymers have been widely investigated because of their excellent electrical and optical properties. The most commonly used conductive polymers are polypyrrole (PPY), polyaniline (PANI), polythiophene (PTH) and their derivatives.
Inherently conducting polymers, such as PPY and PANI, often referred to as "synthetic metals", are unique in that they possess the electrical and magnetical properties of a metal, while retaining the mechanical characteristics of a polymer. Intense research has been carried out to investigate the application of these materials in corrosion protection, rechargeable batteries, electrochromic displays, conducting composites, biosensors, actuators, electronics, artificial muscles, optical devices and smart textiles.
Smart textiles can be produced by in situ polymerization of the corresponding conducting polymers on the textile support. The resulting smart fabrics are conductive while preserving the tactile properties of the initial textile material and therefore they have proven useful in the field of wearable sensors (i.e., they can be used for wearable medical monitoring systems).
In the present work are included original results concerning synthesis and characterization of some novel polymers with conducting or blue light emitting properties as suitable coatings for smart textiles.