Session 13: Emerging Capabilities
Game Changers: How multifunctional substrate and fibers enable NextFlex and AFFOA
Thursday, February 15, 2018
8:25 AM - 8:45 AM
New devices and structures for Flexible Hybrid Electronics will depend on advances in multifunctional substrates, compatible inks and printing approaches for rapid manufacturing. The ability to fabricate novel substrates with different form factors, including textiles and new materials with breathability/ barrier properties, tunability of electrical and mechanical properties, biocompatibility, etc. will be important for military and civilian applications. For example, wearable sensors for monitoring soldier health are increasingly important to the military. The technology can serve dual use by monitoring medical health, the health of professional sports players, and the average person performing their workout. NextFlex is working to create these sensors by printing or placement of a chip on a flexible substrate. An attractive option would be to integrate the sensor within the fabric of military clothing or sports apparel. The Lowell Fabric Discovery Center (FDC), in support of NextFlex and AFFOA, will provide the infrastructure and equipment needed for the development of multifunctional fiber and textile prototypes with characteristics that could include self-cleaning, fire resistance, self-healing, energy harvesting, signal transport, and fluid sampling. UML and FDC will provide advanced polymer resin processing, fiber spinning, weaving, finishing and product testing equipment with capabilities for rapidly fabricating functional prototypes. Solid substrates can include filled polymers for tunable dielectric substrates and patterned conductors, as well as other functionality (superhydrophobic, barrier, etc.). Soft robotics can also be enabled by materials created by the FDC. For example, the power/supply of wearable electronics can be integrated in conformable textiles, along with the sensing, data collection, and network management. The FDC opens exciting possibilities for synergistic enhancement of properties and capabilities from both a scientific and commercial perspective.
She received her S.B. in chemistry from MIT (1981) and her Ph.D. in Polymers from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from MIT (1986). She worked for over 10 years as a Materials Engineer for the Army Research Laboratory in Watertown, MA. She is currently the David and Frances Pernick Nanotechnology Professor in the Department of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Director of the Nanomanufacturing Center at UMass Lowell, and was the Deputy Director of the NSF Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing. Her research interests include nanomanufacturing of polymeric materials, structure-properties of polymers, elastomers, and thermoplastic elastomers. She has over 200 publications
Professor, Department of Plastics Engineering
University of Massachusetts, Lowell