Textile Resistance is a collaborative project between Smart Textiles Design Lab and Syntjuntan. The project explores design possibilities of raw textile materials that can be used as textile music, which will be used by Syntjuntan in their music performances. This project investigates different knitted textiles made in conductive materials, to be used for textile synthesizers.
The project was performed at the Ambience11 conference, Borås Sweden, in Nov 2011. The knitted structures are designed and hand-knitted by Barbro Scholz with Bekinox 50/2 conductive yarn. “The hairy structure knit makes a really nice sound when stroked and tickled. We connected it to embroidered Syntjuntan oscillator circuit to test the sound”.
Ann Rosén (Syntjuntan) arranged a meeting between Anna Lindal and Linda Worbin at The Swedish School of Textiles in June, where she brought her violin and her conductive dress. It is Anna Lindal’s first prototype of a hand-knitted dress made by conductive and viscose yarn while playing the violin. Different sections in the dress are connected to a Syntjuntans oscillator circuit to create different sounds according to how the violinists move.
Conductive fibers consist of a non-conductive or less conductive substrate, which is then either coated or embedded with electrically conductive elements, often carbon, nickel, copper, gold, silver, or titanium. Substrates typically include cotton, polyester, nylon, and stainless steel to high-performance fibers such as aramids and PBO. Straddling the worlds of textiles and wires, conductive fibers are sold either by weight or length and measured in denier or AWG.
Uses for conductive fibers and textiles may include static dissipation, EMI shielding, signal and power transfer in low resistance versions, and as a heating element in higher resistance versions. Their benefits over solid or stranded metal wires come from conductive fibers’ flexibility and ability to use them in existing textile and wire machinery (weaving, knitting, braiding, etc.) Another more recent use is in the production of ‘Stun gun’ or Taser proof clothing, where the conductive textile is used as a sort of Faraday shield in a layer of the garment in question. Recent new entrants into the conductive fiber market now include highly conductive stainless steel fiber.
Because of the rapid growth in the kinds of conductive fibers and the uses of these fibers, a trade association has been formed to increase awareness, utilization, and possibly standardize terminology. The association is the Conductive Fiber Manufacturers Council.