Here are three members of the Advanced Textile Research Group who have had recent PhD successes. On the left is Dr Ekael Mbise who has just conducted a successful defence of his thesis on ‘The Development of a Quick Dry Fabric for Outdoor Garments’. The thesis explains Ekael’s research on development of an active fabric to keep the wearer drier when sweating occurs. The technology works through control of the hydrostatic pressure difference through application of heat to one side of an inner, knitted, spacer fabric. This leads to the inner side of the fabric being kept as dry as possible.
Dr Dorothy Hardy is in the centre of the group in the photo. She recently graduated from Heriot-Watt University after completion of her thesis entitled ‘Integrating Crystalline-Silicon Photovoltaic Cells into Decorative Glazing’. This research found ways of fitting solar cells into decorative windows to create a modern version of stained glass that generates electrical power. This involved both development of artistic designs and finding methods of incorporating brightly-coloured, fluorescent dyes into the encapsulant ‘glue’ that holds solar cells in place between sheets of glass. This experience in mixing artistic and scientific research is now being carried forward into Dorothy’s work to test electronic yarns and then integrate them into functional textiles that will appeal to wearers.
Anura Rathnayake is on the right of the photo. His thesis on ‘Development of the Core Technology for the Creation of Electronically-Active Smart Yarn’ was recently submitted. The aim of this work was the development of the core technology for embedding functional semiconductor devices within the fibres of a yarn, in order to create electronically-active yarns. These yarns could then be processed via the conventional textile manufacturing techniques into smart fabrics and garments. These electronically-active yarns will be the building blocks of the next generation of wearable electronics.