The value of US manmade fiber and filament, textile and apparel shipments increased 11 per cent in 2016 compared to 2009. Investment in fiber, yarn, fabric and other non-apparel textile product manufacturing climbed 75 per cent from 2009 to 2015.
On technology front, an international research team has developed high-tech yarns that generate electricity when they are stretched or twisted. Researchers describe twistron yarns and their possible applications, such as harvesting energy from the motion of ocean waves or from temperature fluctuations. When sewn into a shirt, these yarns served as a self-powered breathing monitor. Normal breathing stretched the yarn and generated an electrical signal, demonstrating its potential as a self-powered respiration sensor.
The yarns are constructed from carbon nanotubes, which are hollow cylinders of carbon 10,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. The researchers first twist-spun the nanotubes into high-strength, lightweight yarns. To make the yarns highly elastic, they introduced so much twist that the yarns coiled like an over-twisted rubber band.
In order to generate electricity, the yarns must be either submerged in or coated with an ionically conducting material, or electrolyte, which can be as simple as a mixture of ordinary table salt and water. The investigators have filed a patent on the technology.