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Concept: Fiber


Nanoparticles are very interesting because of their surface properties, different from bulk materials. Such properties make possible to endow ordinary products with new functionalities. Their relatively low cost with respect to other nano-additives make them a promising choice for industrial mass-production systems. Nanoparticles of different kind of materials such as silver, titania, and zinc oxide have been used in the functionalization of fibers and fabrics achieving significantly improved products with new macroscopic properties. This article reviews the most relevant approaches for incorporating such nanoparticles into synthetic fibers used traditionally in the textile industry allowing to give a solution to traditional problems for textiles such as the microorganism growth onto fibers, flammability, robustness against ultraviolet radiation, and many others. In addition, the incorporation of such nanoparticles into special ultrathin fibers is also analyzed. In this field, electrospinning is a very promising technique that allows the fabrication of ultrathin fiber mats with an extraordinary control of their structure and properties, being an ideal alternative for applications such as wound healing or even functional membranes.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Cotton, Fiber, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, Textile, Synthetic fiber, Aramid


Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) is a diffusion-weighted technique which overcomes limitations of the commonly used diffusion tensor imaging approach. This technique models non-Gaussian behaviour of water diffusion by the diffusion kurtosis tensor (KT), which can be used to provide indices of tissue heterogeneity and a better characterisation of the spatial architecture of tissue microstructure. In this study, the geometry of the KT is elucidated using synthetic data generated from multi-compartmental models, where diffusion heterogeneity between intra and extra-cellular media are taken into account, as well as the sensitivity of the results to each model parameter and to synthetic noise. Furthermore, based on the assumption that maxima of the KT are distributed perpendicularly to the direction of well aligned fibres, a novel algorithm for estimating fibre direction directly from the KT is proposed and compared to the fibre directions extracted from DKI based orientation distribution function (ODF) estimates previously proposed in the literature. Synthetic data results showed that, for fibres crossing at high intersection angles, direction estimates extracted directly from the KT have smaller errors than the DKI based ODF estimation approaches (DKI-ODF). Nevertheless, the proposed method showed smaller angular resolution and lower stability to changes of the simulation parameters. On real data, tractography performed on these KT fibre estimates suggests a higher sensitivity than the DKI based ODF in resolving lateral corpus callosum fibres reaching the pre-central cortex when diffusion acquisition is performed with five b-values. Using faster acquisition schemes, KT based tractography did not show improved performance over the DKI-ODF procedures. Nevertheless, it is shown that direct KT fibres estimates are more adequate for computing a generalized version of radial kurtosis maps.

Concepts: Magnetic resonance imaging, Corpus callosum, Fiber, Parameter, Imaging, Tensors, Synthetic fiber, Fibers


Understanding the compatibility between spider silk and conducting materials is essential to advance the use of spider silk in electronic applications. Spider silk is tough, but becomes soft when exposed to water. Here we report a strong affinity of amine-functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes for spider silk, with coating assisted by a water and mechanical shear method. The nanotubes adhere uniformly and bond to the silk fibre surface to produce tough, custom-shaped, flexible and electrically conducting fibres after drying and contraction. The conductivity of coated silk fibres is reversibly sensitive to strain and humidity, leading to proof-of-concept sensor and actuator demonstrations.

Concepts: Continuum mechanics, Carbon nanotube, Materials science, Tensile strength, Fiber, Silk, Spider silk, Spider


The teeth of limpets exploit distinctive composite nanostructures consisting of high volume fractions of reinforcing goethite nanofibres within a softer protein phase to provide mechanical integrity when rasping over rock surfaces during feeding. The tensile strength of discrete volumes of limpet tooth material measured using in situ atomic force microscopy was found to range from 3.0 to 6.5 GPa and was independent of sample size. These observations highlight an absolute material tensile strength that is the highest recorded for a biological material, outperforming the high strength of spider silk currently considered to be the strongest natural material, and approaching values comparable to those of the strongest man-made fibres. This considerable tensile strength of limpet teeth is attributed to a high mineral volume fraction of reinforcing goethite nanofibres with diameters below a defect-controlled critical size, suggesting that natural design in limpet teeth is optimized towards theoretical strength limits.

Concepts: Scientific method, Thermodynamics, Materials science, Tensile strength, Fiber, Pressure, Teeth, Spider silk


Hagfish slime threads, which make up the fibrous component of the defensive slime of hagfishes, consist primarily of proteins from the intermediate filament family of proteins and possess impressive mechanical properties that make them attractive biomimetic models. To investigate whether solubilized intermediate filament proteins can be used to make high-performance, environmentally sustainable materials, we cast thin films on the surface of electrolyte buffers using solubilized hagfish slime thread proteins. The films were drawn into fibers, and the tensile properties were measured. Fiber mechanics depended on casting conditions and postspinning processing. Postsecondary drawing resulted in fibers with improved material properties similar to those of regenerated silk fibers. Structural analyses of the fibers revealed increased molecular alignment resulting from the second draw, but no increase in crystallinity. Our findings show promise for intermediate filament proteins as an alternative source for the design and production of high performance protein-based fibers.

Concepts: Cytoskeleton, Tensile strength, Fiber, Materials, Dietary fiber, Spider silk, Hagfish, Fibers


Textile-enabled interfacial microfluidics, utilizing fibrous hydrophilic yarns (e.g., cotton) to guide biological reagent flows, has been extended to various biochemical analyses recently. The restricted capillary-driving mechanism, however, persists as a major challenge for continuous and facilitated biofluidic transport. In this paper, we have first introduced a novel interfacial microfluidic transport principle to drive three-dimensional liquid flows on a micropatterned superhydrophobic textile (MST) platform in a more autonomous and controllable manner. Specifically, the MST system utilizes the surface tension-induced Laplace pressure to facilitate the liquid motion along the hydrophilic yarn, in addition to the capillarity present in the fibrous structure. The fabrication of MST is simply accomplished by stitching hydrophilic cotton yarn into a superhydrophobic fabric substrate (contact angle 140 ± 3°), from which well-controlled wetting patterns are established for interfacial microfluidic operations. The geometric configurations of the stitched micropatterns, e.g., the lengths and diameters of the yarn and bundled arrangement, can all influence the transport process, which is investigated both experimentally and theoretically. Two operation modes, discrete and continuous transport, are also presented in detail. In addition, the gravitational effect as well as the droplet removal process have been also considered and quantitatively analysed during the transport process. As a demonstration, an MST design has been implemented on an artificial skin surface to collect and remove sweat in a highly efficient and facilitated means. The results have illustrated that the novel interfacial transport on the textile platform can be potentially extended to a variety of biofluidic collection and removal applications.

Concepts: Cotton, Liquid, Surface tension, Fiber, Textile, Yarn, Sewing, Weaving


Nanopaper is a flexible, transparent, and renewable substrate that is emerging as a replacement for plastic in printed “green” electronics. The underlying science of transparency of nanopaper is that the diameter of these fibers is much smaller than the light wavelength, which significantly decreases the light scattering as compared to regular fibers. Cellulose fibers have a hierarchical structure, which consists of numerous smaller fibers. In this manuscript, we demonstrate a nanopaper design with different fiber diameters, and conclude that the light transmittance and scattering depend on the fiber diameter and packing density. The optical properties of the nanopaper and their dependence on the cellulose fiber diameter are thoroughly explained through Chandrasekhar’s radiative-transfer theory and multiple scattering method simulations. The controllable optical properties of highly transparent nanopaper present an unprecedented opportunity for growth of next-generation optoelectronics.

Concepts: Scientific method, Optics, Light, Greek loanwords, Scattering, Fiber, Cellulose, Cellulose fiber


Polystyrene electrospun optical fibrous membrane (EOF) was fabricated using a one-step electrospinning technique, functionalized with glucose oxidases (GOD/EOF), and used as a quick and highly sensitive optical biosensor. Due to the doped iridium complex, the fibrous membrane emitted yellow luminescence (562 nm) when exited at 405 nm. Its luminescence was significantly enhanced with the presence of extremely low concentration glucose. The detection limit was of 1.0 × 10-10 M (S/N=3), superior to that of reported glucose biosensor. A linear range between the relative intensity increase and the logarithm of glucose concentration was exhibited from 3.0 × 10-10 M to 1.3 × 10-4 M, which was much wider than reported results. Notable, the response time was less than 1 second. These high sensitivity and fast response were attributed to the high surface-area-to-volume of the porous fibrous membrane, the efficient GOD biocatalyst reaction on the fibers surface, as well as the fast electron or energy transfer between dissolved oxygen and the optical fibrous membrane.

Concepts: Oxygen, Light, Sensitivity and specificity, Blood sugar, Fiber, Dietary fiber, Biosensor, Vaska's complex


A minimally destructive technique for the determination of dyes in finished fibers provides an important tool for crime scene and other forensic investigations. The analytical power and the minimal sample consumption of time-of-flight-secondary ion mass spectrometric (TOF-SIMS) analysis provides the ability to obtain definitive molecular and elemental information relevant to fiber identification, including identification of dyes, from a very small volume of sample. For both fiber surface analysis and, with the aid of cryomicrotomy, fiber cross-section analysis, TOF-SIMS was used to identify various dyes in finished textile fibers. The analysis of C.I. Acid Blue 25 in nylon is presented as a representative example. The molecular ion of C.I. Acid Blue 25 with lower than 3% on weight-of-fiber (owf) dye loading cannot be identified on dyed nylon surfaces by TOF-SIMS using a Bi(3)(+) primary ion beam. Sputtering with C(60)(+) provided the ability to remove surface contamination as well as at least partially remove Bi-induced damage, resulting in a greatly improved signal-to-noise ratio for the Acid Blue 25 molecular ion. The use of C(60)(+) for damage removal in a cyclic manner along with Bi for data acquisition provided the ability to unambiguously identify Acid Blue 25 via its molecular ion at a concentration of 0.1% owf from both fiber surfaces and cross sections.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Molecule, Chemistry, Ion, Nylon, Fiber, Dye, Secondary ion mass spectrometry


Lightweight artificial muscle fibers that can match the large tensile stroke of natural muscles have been elusive. In particular, low stroke, limited cycle life, and inefficient energy conversion have combined with high cost and hysteretic performance to restrict practical use. In recent years, a new class of artificial muscles, based on highly twisted fibers, has emerged that can deliver more than 2,000 J/kg of specific work during muscle contraction, compared with just 40 J/kg for natural muscle. Thermally actuated muscles made from ordinary polymer fibers can deliver long-life, hysteresis-free tensile strokes of more than 30% and torsional actuation capable of spinning a paddle at speeds of more than 100,000 rpm. In this perspective, we explore the mechanisms and potential applications of present twisted fiber muscles and the future opportunities and challenges for developing twisted muscles having improved cycle rates, efficiencies, and functionality. We also demonstrate artificial muscle sewing threads and textiles and coiled structures that exhibit nearly unlimited actuation strokes. In addition to robotics and prosthetics, future applications include smart textiles that change breathability in response to temperature and moisture and window shutters that automatically open and close to conserve energy.

Concepts: Energy, Stroke, Muscle, Myosin, Muscle contraction, Muscular system, Fiber