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High-tech fabric can take a beating and lead to tough smart clothing


To be able to make smart clothing like Ralph Lauren's shirt for athletes, you need fabric embedded with sensors and circuitry. Engineers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have designed one such type of fabric, and based on its test results, it has the potential to evolve into material superhero costumes are made of. According to the paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, the researchers tested the fabric's durability not only by folding and wrinkling it, but also by washing it, repeatedly stretching it to its limits and even shooting bullets at it. They found that the cloth, knitted with wiring as you can see above, could withstand extreme abuse before it even begins to break down.

Its circuits apparently continued to work even after a million cycles of washing and stretching, and only 6 out of 30 samples were affected after being washed 30 times in a washing machine. The fabric even remained intact beneath Kevlar when sewn into a bulletproof vest. While it obviously has huge potential in the development of military equipment, other kinds of smart clothing could certainly benefit from a fabric this tough.

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