Graphene 'wonder clothing' debuts in Shanghai

The revolutionary material is a million times thinner than a human hair, but stronger than any other textile ever developed.
Yang Jian / SHINE

Models demonstrate clothes made from graphene at the China International Trade Fair for Fibers and Yarns at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) in Qingpu District.

The first batch of locally produced graphene fiber textile products debuted at an exhibition in Shanghai on Wednesday, as the “wonder material” goes into mass production.

Underwear, uniforms, gloves, socks, outer clothing and bed linen went on display at the China International Trade Fair for Fibers and Yarns at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai).

The textile products incorporating graphene are more antibacterial, ultraviolet-proof, cut-resistant and preserve heat better than normal textiles, said Shanghai-based Kyorene Technology Co, part of the QS Group.

Mass production has started, using composite fibers of graphene and nylon, polyester, cotton and wool, said Sha Yan, QS general manager. The company’s factory can produce 100 tons of graphene annually, along with 20,000 tons of those composite fibers, she said.

The company exhibited a pair gloves at the exhibition yesterday, said to be the “world’s first multifunctional protective graphene gloves,” which can resist bacteria, heat, abrasion, ultraviolet rays, static and far infrared radiation.

They are expected to be used by the military or for other specialist occupations.

Yang Jian / SHINE

Clothes incorporating graphene are said to be more antibacterial, ultraviolet-proof, cut-resistant and retain heat than normal textiles.

“It will lead a new trend in the textile industry to combine graphene with other fiber products,” said He Yanli, vice president of the China Chemical Fibers Association.

She said the State Council has issued an industry guideline calling for China to focus on the development of such hi-tech and new material fibers by 2020.

Graphene is an ultra thin sheet of carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice.

It is the lightest, thinnest and strongest man-made material developed so far. Although it was originally created by UK scientists, China — especially Shanghai — is striving to take the lead in the world’s graphene development.

Xuhui District, for instance, has established an industrial zone on the Huangpu River waterfront to research AI technology and the implications of graphene. In northern Baoshan, a government fund has been set up to focus on graphene development.

Baoshan seeks to attract global professionals and the world’s leading graphene-related projects to the district to create a major graphene research hub, said Baoshan director Fan Shaojun.

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