Launderability of Stitched Surface-Mount E-Textiles
E-textiles that contain distributed electronic components have advantages for wearable technology in that functionality, particularly for interactive applications that require sensing and actuating, can be spread over a much larger area. Integrating this kind of functionality into a textile architecture also offers advantages for power and networking as well as hand-feel and wearability. However, particularly for garment-based applications, textile-embedded circuitry often must be machine-washable to conform to user expectations for care and maintenance.
In this study, we evaluate the robustness to home laundering of a previously-developed technique for assembling e-textile circuits. We performed a durability test based on machine washing and drying while varying the textile substrate, component size, and intensity of the laundering cycle. After around 17 hours of rigorous washing and drying, we measured a 1.5% failure rate for component solder joints. 1.25% of these failures occurred during the first wash/dry cycle. These results demonstrate the feasibility of this technique for machine-launderable e-textile garments.