2012 – 2013

This project was jointly conducted by the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (DEEE) at University of Sheffield and the Advanced Textiles Research Group (ATRG) at Nottingham Trent University over a period of six months, between October 2012 and April 2013.  DEEE provided expertise in electromagnetic design and measurement and the ATRG provided the manufacturing expertise. The work focused on the design and manufacture of textile electromagnetic structures using computerised flat-bed knitting technology and conducting yarns. In particular, a new concept for manufacturing electromagnetic textiles using flat-bed knitting techniques combined with laser ablation was investigated.

The knitting process was used to manufacture single and double layer textile materials with a continuous conducting surface and a dielectric (polyester) backing or sandwich layer. Laser ablation was then used to cut the “blank” conducting surface to provide patterns to form frequency selective surfaces (FSS). The project also investigated the use of advanced knitting techniques based on 3-D spacer structures to manufacture two types of patch antenna. The knitted FSS and antennae were tested by DEEE.  Computer models were also developed based on commercial, full-wave CAD software to predict the electromagnetic behaviour of the knitted samples.

Results indicated that computerised flat-bed knitting technology provides a robust, flexible and cost effective solution to the manufacture of functional electromagnetic textiles.

This research received funding from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory through the Centre for Defence Enterprise under contract number CDE28121. DSTLX1000073729