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February 21, 2019

AATCC develops international standard for e-textiles

By Hannah Abdulla

A committee at the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATC) has approved its first standardised test method for e-textiles.

The ‘AATCC EP13, Evaluation Procedure for Electrical Resistance of Electronically-Integrated Textiles’ provides detailed instructions for measuring the resistance of e-textiles, a key indicator of functionality. It also includes guidance and calculations for determining change in resistance after laundering, stretch, or other treatment.

Work on AATCC EP13 began in 2015 when manufacturers approached the association about developing standardised test methods to allow large and small companies alike to objectively evaluate and sell e-textile products. More than 100 people expressed interest in the subject and RA111, Electronically Integrated Textiles Test Methods, officially became an AATCC research committee in March 2016.

The procedure can be performed on a variety of materials, including those with woven, knitted, printed, or stitched conductive elements. AATCC EP13 is suitable for component fabrics or complete e-textile products. It is designed to be performed in standard atmospheric conditions for textile testing and the apparatus can be purchased inexpensively from a variety of sources.

The research committee RA111 is currently balloting two additional standards. One is a test method for laundering e-textiles. The other is a laboratory procedure for exposing e-textiles to a variety of conditions. The standard is based on existing test methods for perspiration, UV radiation, etc., with specific instructions for preparing e-textile specimens to test the change in electrical resistance. A task group is currently working on a stretch test for e-textiles. Other projects include ongoing revision of the existing standards to reflect new knowledge and new technology. 

“At the time this evaluation procedure was developed, electronically-integrated textiles (e-textiles) were still a nascent product category. As e-textile technology evolves, more specialised methods, or options within this method, may be developed,” says the AATCC.

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