Enhancing textile electrode performance : Regulating moisture management through textile structure
Abstract: The medical field has been a part of the smart textile area for quite some time. With time come technological advancement and the two fields converge on more and more areas. One such area is that of using textile electrodes, textrodes, for measuring bioelectrical activity, such as heart rate for ECG analysis. There are many components that make for a successful textile electrode and though many studies have been made in the subject there are several aspects that still are difficult. By using textile electrodes the problem with skin irritation from electrolyte gels, commonly used for conventional electrodes, is avoided, however dry textrodes create disturbances in the output signal (heart rate) while subjected to movement and internal dimensional changes. The addition of moisture to a textrode has shown to decrease these intermittent disturbances but the knowledge about fundamental textile structural influence in the matter has not been fully investigated. This study investigates a flat, a 2-thread fleece and an open structure, and their relation to moisture both as textile structures and as textrodes. This way the possibilities of utilising moisture to increase performance in a textrode purpose can be examined and to what extent the textile structure plays a part in that exploitation. The material composition of textile structures also affects their properties The introduction of assistive materials, polyester and viscose, into the Shieldex (conductive yarn) structures is done to test core moisture management properties such as surface tension, absorption and moisture content, and correlate them to electrical properties necessary for textrode function. In the end the gap between textile structure and end product in form of a textrode is closed as the impedance and microclimate of the textrodes are studied. This is mainly to tie together the fundamental textile structures with a complex textile construction. In conclusion the complexity is also confirmed as structural, materialistic and external influences has an impact on the results. The influence of moisture on lowered resistance and impedance in the structures is confirmed but the impact of textile structure can also be seen. The 2-thread fleece and open structures often has a more positive impact on results and therefore has the possibility of enhancing performance of a textrode for bioelectrical signal monitoring. With these results a more effective way of producing long-lasting, patient-friendly, textrodes can be derived and in the future lead to better care in the medical areas.
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