University of Alabama researchers received a patent for a new method of strengthening fibers that conduct electricity using liquid salts. Traditional methods of producing these fibers use harsh chemicals and weaken the fibers during preparation.
This new method uses ionic liquids at or near room temperature that preserve more of the fiber’s strength and creates nanostructures for a stronger composite material. The process also makes the composite conduct electricity better. This new production method could open the possibility for using flimsy material, like cotton, to make them stronger and capable of conducting electricity. The process could influence smart textile technology making it easier for clothing to transmit electric signals.