SAMI RANTASALO POWERING OPTIONS IN TECHNICALLY ENHANCED TEXTILES

Bachelor of Science Thesis

Examiner: Professor Heikki Mattila Submitted for review on 12 January 2012

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ABSTRACT
TAMPERE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Material Science RANTASALO, SAMI: Powering options in technically enhanced textiles Bachelor of Science Thesis, 22 pages January 2012 Major: Production Technology Examiner: Professor Heikki Mattila Keywords: Smart textiles, wearable electronics, power generation, power harvesting, technically enhanced textiles The purpose of this thesis is to provide an interdisciplinary introduction of power source and power supply alternatives applicable to electronically enhanced textiles. Main objective is to remove the language barrier between textile and electronics oriented developers. It is written specially as a primer for people new to technically enhanced textiles. Technological alternatives are introduced and a brief overview of the physical phenomena behind them is given to the reader. Textile specific factors are examined to give a better view on the challenges met when combining textile and electrical components in production. Current and future power source alternatives applicable to textiles are reviewed.

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PREFACE
I would like to thank Professor Heikki Mattila for examining this thesis. His courses awakened my interest in technically enhanced textiles. This combined with my interest in electronic gadgets formed this thesis subject. The work was carried out independently. I would like to dedicate this thesis to my mother, Outi Rantasalo. I wish you would have been here to see it finished.

Tampere 11.1.2012 Sami Rantasalo

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Contents

1  2 

Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1  Energy dependent applications in textile context ............................................... 2  2.1  2.2  Wearable computers .................................................................................... 3  Smart textiles............................................................................................... 4  Generators ................................................................................................... 5 

Energy sources and storage ................................................................................ 5  3.1  3.1.1  Piezoelectric effect .................................................................................. 5  3.1.2  Electromagnetic induction ....................................................................... 6  3.1.3  Electrochemistry ...................................................................................... 6  3.1.4  Photoelectric & -voltaic effect................................................................. 7  3.1.5  Thermoelectric & -voltaic effect ............................................................. 7  3.1.6  Static electricity ....................................................................................... 7  3.2  Accumulators .............................................................................................. 7  3.2.1  Battery ..................................................................................................... 7  3.2.2  Capacitor.................................................................................................. 8  3.3  Energy Harvesting ....................................................................................... 8  Textiles and manufacturing ......................................................................... 9  Maintenance and environmental issues ....................................................... 9  Physical dimensions .................................................................................. 10  Fuel cells ................................................................................................... 11  Solar cells .................................................................................................. 12  Batteries .................................................................................................... 13  Supercapacitors ......................................................................................... 13 

Limitations and possibilities in technically enhanced textiles ........................... 9  4.1  4.2  4.3 

Current and future power source alternatives ................................................... 11  5.1  5.2  5.3  5.4 

6  7 

Summary .......................................................................................................... 14  Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 15 

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TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
AC COTS CPU DC DMFC DSSC LBP mAh MHz PDA PFC RF SER WEEE Alternating Current Commercial Off-the-shelf Central Processing Unit Direct Current Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Dye-sensitized Solar Cell Lithium Polymer Battery milli-ampere hour; Unit of electric charge Megahertz; Unit used to describe the computing power of CPUs Personal Digital Assistant Portable Fuel Cell Radio Frequency Sähkö- ja elektroniikkaromu Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

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1 Introduction

The plethora of electronic devices that people have is ever growing. They help or ease our everyday lives, some just bringing us entertainment. As the world has become more mobile the need for all those appliances to go with us has become a necessity. With social media and live information sources the need to access information regardless of place and time, in real-time, pushes the development of electronic appliances and their derivatives. Most mobile gadgets like portable music players and cameras are small enough to be carried in our pockets, bags and jackets. They're becoming smaller and thinner, easier to carry with us. In fact they're becoming more and more ubiquitous. One vision is to infuse these gadgets into something that we carry along all the time, for example clothes and textiles. All the same, most of them need a power source to run. This need is usually met with rechargeable, low-voltage batteries. Regardless of the development of battery life frequent recharging is unavoidable and a nuisance in the hectic life of 21st century. This paper is a literature review on alternatives to battery power sources. True to the aforementioned infusion of textiles and electronics, the aspect is textile oriented. It is directed to people working in the area of textiles with little knowledge of electronics. This paper however does not go into details of electronics or electricity. Likewise this paper might give an insight to electronically oriented people new to textiles. More importantly it works as a common ground for both to co-operate successfully. After a brief overview of electronic devices designed for or around textiles and the requirements they set, different energy source and storing methods are introduced. Next technological alternatives to producing energy are presented and a brief overview of the physical phenomena behind them is given to the reader. Textile specific factors are examined to give a better view on the challenges met when combining textile and electrical components in production. Finally current and future power source alternatives are reviewed.

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2 Energy dependent applications in textile context

Most of the electronics we carry with us are small enough to be slipped into our pockets or bags. In the continuous race to make appliances smaller and lighter the next level would be to embed them into our clothes, clothing accessories or even body. Ultimately the functionality of the appliances would be ubiquitous to the users. Ubiquitous or pervasive computing refers to a variety of devices integrated into everyday objects, environments and individuals. Those devices and their use may be totally unnoticeable to the users. Wearable technology is a sub-set concentrating on ubiquitous technology that is worn during their use. (1) Wearable computers and smart textiles form two overlapping sub-sets as seen in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 - Relationship among clothing technologies (2)

Energy needs mainly arise from the utilized electrical components and indirectly for example from energy dissipation. Energy use between different types of components varies remarkably so the energy needs for a system need to be evaluated uniquely and implementation wise.

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2.1 Wearable computers
Wearable computers are a subset of wearable electronics. Barfield and Caudell define wearable computers as computers worn on body that are fully functional, self-powered, self-contained providing access to and interaction with information anywhere and at any time (3). Emphasis in wearable computers is more on having one computing unit to fill the computing needs required. With no existing providers, they were initially somewhat stripped versions of personal computers and other peripherals to accommodate the special requirements set by the new substrate or platform – human body. Due to advancements in miniaturizing electronics and era of PDAs and smart phones, there are companies providing processors capable of adequate computing power to accommodate the average user’s needs. They are a compromise between size, energy need and efficiency.

Figure 2 - Zypad® WL1100 (4)

One commercial example is Zypad® WL 1100 from Eurotech that is a wearable computer based on XScale PXA270 processor. The 290 g weighing unit runs at 400 MHz in contrast to current laptops running at up to 2.4 GHz. The wrist-worn personal computer runs on a 3.6 V 2200 mAh Li-Ion battery, providing according to the product description 4+ hours battery life. (5)

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2.2 Smart textiles
Smart clothes or textiles are a combination of electronic and non-electronic elements adding to the features and functionality of the textile (1). In contrast to wearable computers the electronic components are used to augment the textiles – textile is not just to provide a platform or a substrate for components. In addition in smart textile applications external components such as sensors and actuators are used to achieve a set goal. The computational needs in current smart textile applications are low or modest. Most systems can manage with small microcontrollers (1), which can be run with low voltage. The computational power is usually applied to managing and interpreting data from sensors and actuators.

Figure 3 - Lilypad Arduino microcontroller board (6)

Lilypad Arduino is a microcontroller board that was designed to be used in electronic textiles or wearable electronics projects. It runs at 8 MHz and has an operating voltage of 2.7-5.5 V which can be achieved with for example AA batteries. (6)

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3 Energy sources and storage

Electronic components need a source of electrical energy, one that can supply electricity to all of the different components and consistently in active use. In extra low-voltage applications, such as smart textile applications, electronic components usually run on direct current (DC). A DC-application may still involve alternating current (AC), for example in sensor signal processing, or be powered indirectly with an AC-power source. The most common DC power source is an electrical battery. It is a device that converts stored chemical energy into electrical energy. As such, it can be regarded as a generator. Generators create electricity from other forms of energy. There are several other different methods of directly transforming other energy forms into electricity, besides the electrochemical reaction that batteries utilise. Batteries are divided into two categories: primary and secondary – disposable and re-chargeable, accordingly. A secondary battery can be regarded also as an accumulator. It accumulates or stores the energy provided by a charger. Further on the text, battery refers to a secondary battery.

3.1 Generators
There are several ways of transforming energy into electricity – directly and indirectly. Some of them, such as nuclear transformation, are more reasonable for commercial scale electricity generation. Others are applicable only for small or micro scale generation with the currently available technologies. Due to efficiency, application and other issues they may not be able to power or charge electronics independently or as is. Six fundamental phenomena stand out that would be applicable in textile context. All the phenomena base on the principle, that a consistent difference of energy exists between two areas (7). These phenomena are briefly described in the following paragraphs. 3.1.1 Piezoelectric effect Pierre and Jacques Curie demonstrated in the 1880’s that applying pressure or mechanical stress on specific solid materials produced an electrical charge and in direct proportion to the pressure applied. This is called the direct piezoelectric effect. Conversely, the indirect piezoelectric effect refers to dimensional changes in the same material resulting from application of a charge. (8)

6 Exploiting this property, alternating current can be generated by cycling between the different stages. Different stages are pictured in Figure 4, with the material under no external force in the centre. Using multiple units multiplies the output.

Figure 4 - Simplification of piezoelectric effect in a material under deformation

3.1.2 Electromagnetic induction The discovery of induction phenomenon is credited for Michael Faraday in early 1800’s. He stated that a changing magnetic flux or field will induce electric current in a closed circuit. The changing magnetic field is usually inflicted through kinetic force. A setup where a magnet is moved inside a conducting coil is visualised in Figure 5.

Figure 5 - Magnet moving inside a conducting coil

3.1.3 Electrochemistry Some chemical reactions create chemical energy. This chemical energy can do work on the environment, for example mechanical work. In electrochemistry this work is electrical and thus the chemical energy is converted into electrical energy. (9)

7 When a battery is discharging, the chemical reaction involved produces energy. Some of these reactions are reversible, but need external energy for it. The same amount of energy that was released is now needed to reset the original recharged state. 3.1.4 Photoelectric & ‐voltaic effect Light in itself is energy, electromagnetic radiation consisting of elemental physical particles, photons. The energy of photons can extract electrons from the surface of matter, which is called the photoelectric effect. In photovoltaic effect, the electrons are transferred between different areas within the material. These areas differ in electrical properties and in combination with the transferred electrons build up electrical energy. 3.1.5 Thermoelectric & ‐voltaic effect Warmth or heat is manifestation of energy. Thermovoltaics and –electrics depend on a heat difference to produce an electron flow and thus electricity (7). The larger the difference is the bigger the flow of electrons. 3.1.6 Static electricity The exchange of electrons between materials can occur on contact and is known as the triboelectric effect. One of the materials becomes positively charged and the other negatively. The polarity and strength of the created charges depend on the materials and their properties. (10) Static electricity is sustained electric charges, positive and negative, between materials. These materials are of poorly conducting material inhibiting the charges from being discharged. (10)

3.2 Accumulators
An accumulator is an appliance which enables energy to be stored. In electrical context energy can be stored in and discharged from either a capacitor or a rechargeable battery. Capacitors are similar to batteries in that they both store an electrical charge. The working principle of these two electrical components also gives them their characteristics. 3.2.1 Battery Most of the properties a battery has are defined by the working principle behind the battery. The energy producing chemical reaction defines the speed a battery discharges at. It also defines the charging time, as the recharging is basically reversing the reaction, using external energy. These reactions make batteries provide a steady, long flow of energy. Energy leakage is somewhat minimal so shelf life for a charged battery is long.

8 3.2.2 Capacitor In capacitors there are no chemical reactions involved. Capacitors consist of two conductors, electrodes, separated by an insulating substance. When charged the electrodes hold equal charges of opposite signs - an electric field holding the charge is created between them. (11) Capacitors are able to release the charge instantly, basically as fast as the electrons flow. The working principle of a capacitor makes using a capacitor to provide the same output as a battery impractical, demanding enormous electrode surface area.

3.3 Energy Harvesting
Energy or power harvesting, also called energy scavenging is a process where power is derived from different available sources. There are numerous ambient energy sources in different forms available even in our everyday environment. For example the air is full of radio frequency energy produced by for example cell phones, WIFI, radio and TV signals. To tap into all available energy sources would be universal and adaptive, but it is more efficient to design the harvesting system to exploit only specific energy sources characteristic to the typical running environment. The harvesting system can also work to minimize the unwanted effects the environment might have. Such would be for example a vibration harvesting device, which by transforming the vibration into energy would also dampen it. In the scale applicable to be worn energy harvesting systems are mostly regarded as suitable powering options for devices with low or ultralow energy consumption. For a commercial RF energy harvesting chip by Powercast they promise over 70% conversion efficiency and an output of 50 mA at 4.2 V (12).

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4 Limitations and possibilities in technically en‐ hanced textiles

Challenge with combining non-textile components with textiles is to minimize the degradation of their functionality or totally retain them. With the versatility of textile products and technologies used to produce them, there are both limitations and possibilities to be met.

4.1 Textiles and manufacturing
Textiles can be classified by the way they are manufactured: knitted, woven and nonwoven. In addition to the combination of these three manufacturing techniques textiles can also be modified and altered in numerous ways – for instance laminated, coated, or plasma treated. The raw material for textiles is fibres which may be natural or man-made. The properties of fibres have a significant influence on the properties of the final product. Fibres are first spun into yarns before use in woven and knitted products. Fibres may also be used as is, as in the case of non-woven textiles. Advanced manufacturing technologies, such as 3D-weaving, also enable the manufacturing of final products instead of fabrics. Fabrics can be regarded both as a final product or an interphase product for the sewing industry. Textile industry processes may involve for example high temperatures, chemicals, immersing and mechanical stress. These processes have been optimized to fulfil the production speed and cost demands, which are usually quite high for low-profit products. These demands set quite a few expectations for the materials involved. Material and manufacturing costs make up around 10 per cent of the selling price of a common everyday garment. This creates cost-effective possibilities even with more costly electronic pay-loads or slower production speeds needed to accommodate extracomponents. The added value to the end user also justifies higher price quoting.

4.2 Maintenance and environmental issues
The maintenance of clothing textiles usually involves washing, be it water or chemical, and minor repairs. With more advanced or technical textiles maintenance may not be as trivial, involving special detergents or materials, as with taped seams in water-proof jackets (13).

10 With embedded technology the maintenance requires specialized knowledge and might become re-seller only – making end-user maintenance obsolete. This kind of service model is common nowadays with for example newer cars, which are becoming more heavily computerized and usually require brand specific service. It opens possibilities for customer bonding and new business functions, but may also affect purchasing behaviour (14). Using modular or detachable components enables different maintenance tasks for different parts. Thus the maintenance need not be uniform throughout the system making up the enhanced textile. This way of thinking gives way to customization and using same components in different collections, possibly lowering the requirements component-wise and manufacturing of the components may be diversified. People have become more aware of recycling, environmental thinking and responsibility. This reflects to the manufacturing industry as well and customers are demanding products that fulfil these new values. Brands nowadays have their own codes of conduct and the product lifecycle has become part of the design process. Marketing a product with environmental values may have a positive effect on consumers. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), the English equivalent of Finnish sähkö- ja elektroniikkaromu (SER), describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. If the textile includes electrical or electronic components, it adds to the challenges recycling the combination if the materials cannot be separated (15).

4.3 Physical dimensions
The most common and largest variable of apparel products must be the physical dimensions. Variance between graded pattern sizes, according to the pattern, may be of several centimetres and affects usable surface area. With elastic materials the variance is nonstatic. These variances need to be taken into account when using fixed size components, physical wires and when the placement of components are critical to for example weight distribution. Regardless of evolving battery technologies, the batteries are still often the heaviest part of electronic systems. Affecting the design of apparel or other textile products, weight distribution, ergonomics and freedom of movement must be taken into account. Optimizing the use of space available is crucial, both in design and components used. The small surface area provided by clothes and accessories is a disadvantage with components requiring maximum space available. With for example solar cells, the available surface area is directly related to the power output. The aesthetic properties in consumer products should also be noted.

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5 Current and future power source alternatives

Goals for current research are more efficient power generation and storing capacity, aiming to bring down the total costs and elongated operating time. Using alternative energy resources is still more costly and the energy density of batteries still need more work. And even an ultra-high energy density battery has its downsides if it cannot be recharged quickly.

5.1 Fuel cells
Fuel cells, like batteries, generate DC electrical energy utilizing electrochemical process. Unlike batteries, though, fuel cells use external fuel to produce the output energy. They will work continuously given adequate fuel and oxidizer supply. Using hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells are a silent, environmental (producing only water and heat as byproducts), energy efficient power source. (16) Compared to batteries, fuel cells provide high power density and long operation time (17). Other fuels, including alcohols and carbon, may require higher working temperature but may be used as low or non-pressurized, making it more safer a system. The downside of these kinds of fuel types is that they produce impurities, such as carbon dioxide. Still direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) are considered the most feasible portable fuel cells (PFC) and power sources for small, portable devices (17). Several companies have commercialized portable fuel cell power systems, aiming at military force markets. One of them is German company, Smart Fuel Cell (SFC) Energy AG. They have JENNY 600S, a battery recharging system weighing 1.6 kilograms and has the dimensions of 183.6 x 74.4 x 252.3 mm. It uses replaceable liquid methanol fuel cartridges, with 350 ml cartridge providing nominal capacity of 400 Wh. (18) Micro fuel cells are an interesting and high profile research subject. Small, commercially available fuel cell alternatives for batteries are scarce. There are only a few companies providing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) fuel cell solutions, running proprietary power cells. One of these, Taiwanese Antig, advertises a lightweight module aimed as a back-up charger for portable devices. Titled A5 “Blade” this methanol burning power source outputs 5 W at 5 V. With dimensions of 150 x 25 x 105 mm and 300 g it is the same scale as a small PDA. (19) Gradually more companies will start providing customizable fuel cell components applicable to electricity dependent textile products. But even then building up a whole supply and distribution network for fuel cell cartridges is challenging with battery satu-

12 rated markets. Recharging more available secondary batteries from wall power sockets is still more appealing and cheaper alternative to end-users.

5.2 Solar cells
Solar or photovoltaic cells convert energy of light into electricity. Singular solar cells form a solar module, which is an encased stand-alone DC electricity providing system. As with other electrical components, solar cells can be connect either in series or in parallel inside a module to gain favourable electrical output. With weather being unpredictable, providing sustained solar energy may be somewhat challenging. The electricity gain can vary between different time frames and seasons, from sunlight to twilight. Yearly electricity potential that could be gained with immobile and optimally positioned solar modules is pictured in Figure 6.

Figure 6 - Photovoltaic Solar Electricity Potential in European Countries (20)

13 Power density under bright sunlight can measure up to 100 mW/cm2. In a normal office illumination it comes down to 100 μW/cm2. (21) With an energy reserve, such as a battery, these power peaks can be equalized down to a constant level over a longer period of time. Different materials used to manufacture solar cells have different properties and affect the energy conversion efficiency. Semiconductor materials have been used to gain most out of the cells, but these are rigid, heavy and relatively costly. And still they have an efficiency of about 15 per cent. (7) Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are a promising candidate for next-generation photovoltaic panels due to their low cost, easy fabrication processes and relatively high efficiency. With technologies allowing solar cells to be produced on flexible substrates, even on paper, solar cells are adaptable to be used in textile context (22).

5.3 Batteries
The working principle behind batteries is old, but material science and nanotechnology have given a boost to manage with competing technologies. Lithium polymer batteries (LBPs), commercialized in the 90’s, are low weight and have both high power and high energy density. The voltage of lithium cells, depending on used materials, varies between 1.5 and 4 V. (23) Lithium polymer batteries are 20 % lighter than their predecessor lithium ion (li-ion) batteries and have specific energy density in the range of 130-200 Wh/kg. LPBs can also be shaped into almost any shape desired due to no need for a rigid metal casing. This is one of the reasons why they are a popular power source in small portable devices. (24) There are many possibilities that nanotechnology has brought into battery technology. Structures that are lighter and have much larger surface-area can be manufactured, allowing faster recharging and greater energy density. In addition to enhanced capacity nanotechnology enables making the system more stable and long-lived. (25)

5.4 Supercapacitors
Supercapacitors differ from normal capacitors in that they have very high capacitance. They have high power density, fast charge-discharge cycles, low heating and are stable in the long run. (26) Capacitors have voltage limits and supercapacitors are confined to 2.5-2.7 V. Energy density with commercial carbon supercapacitors range from 1 to 5 Wh/kg (24). Supercapacitors have gained the gap between capacitors and batteries, providing higher power than batteries and higher energy density compared to normal capacitors.

14 Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin succeeded in producing a supercapacitor capable of storing the same amount of energy as a lead-acid battery (27). Even with high energy density and small size, supercapacitors come packaged in bulky enclosures. Using textile products as a substrate for electronic components is a possibility which was exploited in a research at A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute. A fabric superconductor was contrived using screen printing and ink-jet printing. This flexible and light-weight supercapacitor achieved properties comparable to conventional, commercially available supercapacitors. (28)

6 Summary

Most of the breakthroughs in technologies involved in technically enhanced textiles are not specifically solving problems characteristic to the combination of textiles and electronics. Battery technology, material science, textile machine technology, etc. are evolving on their own paths. Perhaps at some stage, when the smart textile industry becomes more mature or commercially more attractive, this combinatory field will have its own component and part providers from aforementioned branches. In the meantime, following and combining interdisciplinary results is inevitable. The preliminary standardization work, such as the report CEN/TR 16298 Textiles and textile products – Smart textiles – Definitions, categorisation, applications and standardization needs, gives common terms and criteria to categorizing the products. This benefits everyone from the manufacturer to the end-user. Comparison between different powering technologies is not trivial. The compromise between charging autonomy and heavy components is challenging. The parameters of a system under analysis define which power source, or combination of them, is the best alternative. Some project may favour light weightiness and other dimension while other operation time and life-cycle costs. This decision must be drawn into the design process and adds to the more challenging design process of technically enhanced textiles. Using energy from a storage unit, such as a battery, is with the current technology still more convenient option compared to generating the energy on the go. The capacity is in most cases longer and higher with batteries than what singular generators can generate. The biggest inconvenience is the bulk that negatively enhances the garments usability. A combination of a storage unit and a generator (a fuel cell for example) for recharging gives the benefits of both and lowers the impediments.

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7 Bibliography

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