Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

ModelCom project

Autonomously adapting and communicating modular textiles (European Research Council – European Commission)
ModelCom webpage, main image, nylon yarn helix. Photo by Aalto University, Maija Vaara

 

Full title of the project: Autonomously adapting and communicating modular textiles (European Research Council – European Commission)

 

More about the project:

This project contributes to a paradigm shift for smart soft materials into user-customizable textiles that autonomously interact with their environment and communicate through changes in color or shape. This will be done by coupling modular thermo- and photo-actuators to the traditional European fiber art of bobbin lace. The envisioned color-shape-communicative textile networks will include an on/off command of embedded functionalities by modifying an established concept – coiled yarn thermoactuators – to have different selective coatings on inner and outer surfaces of the coils.

Furthermore, it is intended to create unprecedented photoactuating coiled yarns, in which visible light turns on the functionality in a thread. The developed nonconformal coating techniques will also enable multifunctional threads, in which different parts of the thread can be commanded by different wavelengths of light. Two-dimensional multifunctional structures will be developed using these thermo- and photo-actuating threads as building blocks. The modularity of these building blocks, combined with the multiple thread system and three different braiding actions of bobbin lace, will enable a wide combinatorial parameter space for interactive network structures. We will demonstrate a textile that can, either upon illumination or thermal stimulus, change its color, its breathability/permeability, and activate a third function, such as colorimetric detection of a biomarker.

These textiles could be used in clothes or window shades, e.g. adapting their warming/cooling capacity based on the external temperature or solar illumination. Such functional textiles would indirectly decrease the need for heating/cooling many buildings and allow energy savings, thus providing an important economic opportunity. Co-creating further textile innovations with communities of bobbin lacemakers will ensure that the impact of the action goes beyond the conventional in terms of both technological and societal impact.

 

Project team

 

Pedro Silva, Postdoctoral Researcher

 

Pedro Silva is currently undergoing his second postdoctoral term, devoted to studying structural-functional and smart materials in Jaana Vapaavuori's group. His PhD studies explored the dynamics of filaments with innovative geometries by using computer simulations and spinning techniques to produce anisotropic micro elastomers. This project is based on successful preliminary work on textiles done by this team during the summer of 2021.

 

Mithila Mohan, Project Employee

Fabric woven with Honeycomb Weave Structure incorporated with nylon coils that respond to heat. Photo: Aalto University, Mithila Mohan
Photo: Aalto University, Mithila Mohan

"In my current practice, I focus on creating sculptural woven fabrics integrated with smart-materials that can take a life of itself, respond to environmental stimuli, and play a functional role outside of the traditional textile realm. The research encompasses study of textile materials and experimentations with weaving techniques and structures that are most suitable for smart-materials to produce movement in the fabrics."

Photo description: Fabric woven with Honeycomb Weave Structure incorporated with nylon coils that respond to heat. The fabric folds as the nylon coils contract when exposed to heat. Material: Cotton and Nylon Coils

 

Maija Vaara, Project Employee

Photo: Aalto University, Maija Vaara
Photo: Aalto University, Maija Vaara

"My speciality is crafts and, more specifically, traditional Finnish craft techniques such as bobbin lace and tablet weaving. These crafts have been practised and improved across generations but they have not been separated from their ordinary purposes. We have made lace with bobbins, and belts or bands with tablets. 

In my work, I combine these old and sophisticated crafts with new materials like coiled moving yarns. I have created some beautiful shapes that will, hopefully, find some new purposes in the future."

 

Publications

Intertwining Material Science and Textile Thinking : Aspects of Contrast and Collaboration

Emmi Pouta, Riia Vidgren, Jaana Vapaavuori, Mithila Mohan 2022 The Design Research Society Conference (DRS2022) Design Research Society

Tuning the Porosity, Water Interaction, and Redispersion of Nanocellulose Hydrogels by Osmotic Dehydration

Valentina Guccini*, Josphat Phiri, Jon Trifol, Ville Rissanen, Seyede Maryam Mousavi, Jaana Vapaavuori, Tekla Tammelin, Thaddeus Maloney, Eero Kontturi 2022 ACS Applied Polymer Materials

Contact information:

Accountable project leader: Prof. Jaana Vapaavuori ([email protected])

Project team:
Pedro Silva, Postdoctoral Researcher ([email protected])
Mithila Mohan, Project Employee ([email protected])
Maija Vaara, Project Employee ([email protected])

Project intern: Laura Koskelo ([email protected])

Project page on the Research Aalto portal: ModelCom

 

Related content:

Multifunctional Materials Design

Group led by Professor Jaana Vapaavuori

Monitoimisten materiaalien suunnittelu

AaltoTEXTILES network (external link)

AaltoTEXTILES is a network linking all textile-material related activities within design, technology and business at Aalto University

Image: Aalto University, AaltoTEXTILES network

Beyond e-Textiles project

Nordic network on smart light-conversion textiles beyond electric circuits

Beyond e-Textiles webpage, main image. Image by Aalto University, Giulnara Launonen, Maija Vaara, Mithila Mohan

ModelCom project presentation to students

Presentation by ModelCom researchers to Aalto students

Photo by Unto Rautio / Aalto University
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