Smart textiles offer many potential wearable technology applications, from therapeutics to sensing to communication. For such intelligent textiles to function effectively, they need to be strong, stretchable, and electrically conductive. However, fabricating fibres that possess these three properties is challenging and requires complex conditions and systems.
Drawing inspiration from how spiders spin silk to make webs, a team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Swee-Ching Tan from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering under the National University of Singapore's College of Design and Engineering, together with their international collaborators, have developed an innovative method of producing soft fibres that possess these three key properties, and at the same time can be easily reused to produce new fibres. The fabrication process can be carried out at room temperature and pressure, and uses less solvent as well as less energy, making it an attractive option for producing functional soft fibres for various smart applications.