How Piezoelectric Energy can Revolutionize the Fashion Industry
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What are Piezoelectric Materials?
The piezoelectric effect was discovered by Pierre and Jacques Curie in the 1880s, but the research was bounded inside the laboratory for years. Piezoelectric materials are known for their ability to convert mechanical forces such as pressure into electrical energy. One of the most useful piezoelectric materials is Quartz for its use in clocks and watches. Nowadays, manufacturers can create synthetic piezoelectric materials which are more cost-effective than natural ones .
How Piezoelectric Material can Generate Electricity?
The Piezoelectric Material generates electricity when a mechanical force is applied to it. A plate of metal is used, when it is subjected to pressure it produces electrical energy. The principle behind it is simple, consider a quartz crystal; the SiO4 Tetrahedron. Silicon and Oxygen are linked together and the electronegativity of Silicon and Oxygen is different. When pressure is applied, this linkage experiences disturbance resulting in the creation of electrical energy. The energy generated is stored in the metal plates, more pressure will result in a larger amount of energy created. A different effect is generated when the piezoelectric material is placed between charged metal plates, the crystal deforms generating sound waves . One simple example of Piezoelectric Material is the stethoscope which converts the sound waves from the heart to electrical signals which is again converted into the sound that a doctor hears.
Different Types of Piezoelectric Materials:
1. Naturally Existing:
Most of the natural materials that show piezoelectric properties are crystals such as Quarts, Topaz, Tourmaline Group, etc. Some organic materials also show the piezoelectric effect which is bone, silk, wood, etc .
2. Man-made Synthetic Materials:
The materials that show a ferroelectric nature are used to prepare the materials with piezoelectric properties . They are categorized as:-
- Crystals with Perovskite Structure
Piezoelectric Effect in Smart Textile:
In Smart Textiles, there are many applications of the piezoelectric effect ranging from healthcare to sports. There have been many studies regarding the use of the piezoelectric effect and it has been proven to be one of the most revolutionary researches in the field of ‘Active Smart Textiles’. Following are the industries where smart textiles are embedded with piezoelectric materials:
1. Healthcare Industry:
To monitor the patient’s physiological data, piezoelectric sensors are used which convert the patient’s body movements into interpretable data for the doctors. This has provided a better understanding of the patient’s condition and in many ways has helped in critical situations. Wearables are introduced in the industry to provide data like blood pressure and heartbeat rate . These data points can be used to understand a person’s emotional state. Piezoelectric materials can help in the emotional recognition of the patient by assessing the changing nature of the physiological data of the human body.
Piezoelectric materials can be integrated into Geo-textiles for better assessments of civil works. They can work as indicators for structural integrity due to their lightweight, fast response time, precision, and easy deployment. By using piezoelectric fibers as transducers, researchers were successfully able to monitor concrete structures .
3. Fashion Industry:
As the industry of smart textiles is growing, the implementation of Piezoelectric Energy can be seen in various sectors. Xiaomi, one of the biggest tech companies has been very innovative in the field of footwear, wherein they have invented various models of smart shoes. Hence, the concept of Piezoelectricity has been prominent in the fashion industry nowadays.
How Piezoelectricity Energy can Revolutionize the Fashion Industry?
The concept of piezoelectricity has been explored in many fields. In the field of fashion, the implementation of piezoelectric concepts can provide a lot of data points. These data points are related to the motion of the wearer, and by analyzing these data points one can create a better user experience. For example, an athlete can use clothing made of piezo-concept which provides real-time tracking of its movements, and analysis of these data points can provide it with various tips on how they can improve. This technology can also be used in the field of modeling and fashion shows, giving fashion designers data regarding the movements of the models against the garment. It helps them understand the movements and can track the garment’s behavior.
Another way Piezoelectricity can be implemented is in product development, where the brands can use the sensors to understand how the body is moving and how they can have better movement in the garment. It can be also used to understand if a particular design is workable for day-to-day movements. Sensors that use piezoelectric materials are implemented on the pressure points such as shoulders, elbows, and knees. Hence, the pressure generated is created into the piezoelectric values which gives valid data points regarding the movements. As more futuristic tech depends on the data points provided, the fashion industry can use the technology of piezoelectric energy and integrate itself into emerging technologies such as AI, AR, and VR.
The future of fashion relies upon the data points and how the brands can improve their consumer’s experience. By using piezoelectric energy to provide data points, brands can improve their products and they can get better designs. Nowadays ‘smart designs’ are trending and everything is connected through Bluetooth on smartphones, implementing this technology directly into fashion products; brands can improve their consumer’s experience. Hence, the future of the fashion industry can be improved by using piezoelectric energy.
 “Recent advances in piezoelectric textile materials: A brief literature review” by Gabriela Maestri, Ludimilla B Ferreira, Pedro Bachmann, Ana AM Paim, Claudia Merlini, and Fernanda Steffens, “Journal of Engineered Fibres and Fabrics” Volume 18, 2023.
 Jeong, S.Y.; Xu, L.L.; Ryu, C.H.; Kumar, A.; Hong, S.D.; Jeon, D.H.; Cho, J.Y.; Ahn, J.H.; Joo, Y.H.; Jeong, I.W.; et al. Wearable Shoe-Mounted Piezoelectric Energy Harvester for a Self-Powered Wireless Communication System. Energies 2022, 15, 237. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15010237
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.