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Researchers develop smart textile ‘Zephlinear’

Researchers in England have pioneered a new form of nonwoven material made from yarn. The so-called space cloth, named zephlinear, has a strong potential for use as a smart textile due to its unique structure with space to encase copper wiring, light emitting diodes and more.

Unlike traditional woven or knitted materials, which are made by the interloping or interlacing of yarns, it is made by a newly established technique known as yarn surface entanglement. The name, zephlinear, derives from the merger of two words, zephyr and linear. It was given the nickname space cloth due to its appearance and its e-textile capabilities. It is strongest and most efficient when created from natural yarns, such as 100 per cent wool, hair and wool or silk mixtures, though it can also be made from synthetic yarns.

This is the first nonwoven material made from yarn and promises major benefits for the future of clothing. It combines well with e-textile technologies, such as heated textiles or textiles with embedded LEDs. As a fabric it is very lightweight and flexible, and it retracts back to its original shape well after it has been stretched. It’s expected to help provide people with smarter and more environmentally friendly clothing in the future.