Purdue University Graduate School

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Functionalized Cellulose Fibers for Smart Textile

posted on 2023-08-09, 14:54 authored by Pengfei DengPengfei Deng

Smart textiles, characterized by their ability to sense and react to various environmental stimuli, represent an evolution beyond conventional textiles, with wide-ranging applications across healthcare, sports, fashion, and defense sectors. However, the prevalent use of synthetic, petroleum-based fibers in the production of these textiles presents significant environmental and sustainability challenges. This thesis addresses this concern by exploring the functionalization of cellulose fibers—a biodegradable and renewable resource—for use in smart textiles.

The central objective of this research is to develop methodologies for the functionalization of cellulose fibers that can impart them with the requisite properties. We have developed a smart textile with integrated sensor networks and self-powering units, which features excellent stretchability, bendability, washability, and comfort, without additional uncomfortable, bulky, and rigid power sources. Via a facile infiltration process, an active polymer-based semiconductor is incorporated into the primary thread and textile towards the realization of a high-performance, self-powered biaxial motion detection, and sensing network.

The results demonstrate that, through strategic functionalization, cellulose fibers can indeed be transformed into smart materials, effectively integrating the benefits of interactive textiles with the sustainability of cellulose. By bridging the gap between sustainability and functionality, this thesis points towards a future where the textile industry can thrive on the intersection of ecological responsibility and technological innovation.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tian Li

Additional Committee Member 2

Kejie Zhao

Additional Committee Member 3

Alex L. Chortos

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