Color changing fabric is a textile composed of a basic woven material that has either been integrated with fibers that emit light or process light to change the color of the fabric or the fabric has been treated with some form of liquid crystal ink.
How Does Color Changing Fabric Work?
Color changing technology in the fabric can vastly vary based on the process used. In the following paragraphs, this paper will discuss three main ways to implement the color-changing process into fabrics; Photonic Crystal Fibers, Liquid Crystal Ink, and Fabcell.
Photonic-crystal fiber (PCF) is a class of optical fiber-based on the properties of photonic crystals. It was first explored in 1996 at the University of Bath; UK. Because of its ability to confine light in hollow cores or with confinement characteristics not possible in conventional optical fiber; PCF is now finding applications in fiber-optic communications, fiber lasers, nonlinear devices, high-power transmission, highly sensitive gas sensors, and other areas.
Liquid Crystal Ink
Liquid crystal ink is a type of ink that is coated over the fabric and will change color with the change of temperature. Because our body heat affects the liquid crystal ink and will change the color even if we do not want it to, the liquid crystal ink is not effective to be used on its own.
Fabcell is a combination of two processes. The first process is a woven textile that contains a normal thread such as polyester or cotton and a conductive yard. The second process is using Liquid Crystal Ink. First, the fabric is woven with the two different yarns, then it is coated with the Liquid Crystal Ink. Because there is a conductive yarn in the textile, the temperature can be controlled to create a change in the color of the Liquid Crystal Ink.
The Future of Color Changing Fabric
Environmentalists and the fashion industry alike are extremely excited about color-changing fabrics and the implications that color-changing fabrics have toward the future of fashion. While most of these technologies are in the beginning stages, there are at least two products out there that have patents and are working toward becoming producible products in the very near future.
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