A joint research effort between UK and Portuguese scientists has resulted in polypropylene (PP) fibers that can be woven into clothing to function as low-voltage body temperature sensors.
Polypropylene is a strong and lightweight material that’s also recyclable. The researchers coated it with graphene to produce fibers capable of conducting electricity. They tested it with two different types, CVD grown and shear exfoliated graphene. They found the CVD grown graphene was more sensitive to temperature changes.
Existing body-worn temperature sensors, which are attached to the skin or clothing, can be uncomfortable for the wearer, not to mention fragile in the washing machine. Some even require an external power source.
The team tested the durability of their new fibers by bending it up to 1,000 times, as well as putting it through multiple wash cycles using different kinds of detergent and washed at different temperatures.
Sensors made from the graphene PP fibers could one day be integrated into articles of clothing to take continuous measurements of human body temperature.