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Smart Textiles

Japanese develop piezoelectric fabric with antimicrobial performance

Two Japanese companies have eEstablished of a joint venture company to develop a plant-derived fabric that emits electricity, creating a better environment...

9th June 2020

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Japan


Antimicrobial mechanism

Antimicrobial mechanism. After bacteria enters the fibre, electric fields caused by human movement, kill the bacteria.

Two leading Japanese companies, Murata Manufacturing and Teijin Frontier, have jointly developed the world's first piezoelectric fabric called Pieclex, which generates electrical energy and exhibits antimicrobial performance when a motion is applied.

Additionally, the companies have jointly established Pieclex Co., Ltd. on 1 April 2020, as a joint venture company for the purpose of research, development, manufacturing and sales of the novel fabric.

Pieclex fabric realizes antimicrobial performance by converting motions such as human movement into electrical energy by combining Murata's piezoelectric technology cultivated through development and manufacture of electronic components with Teijin Frontier's fabric technology, which spans from yarns and materials to product manufacturing. Pieclex is also said to contribute to protecting the global environment, as it uses plant-derived polylactic acid (PLA) as its raw material and does not apply chemical agents and organic solvents.

Carbon-neutral, earth-friendly fabric

Pieclex uses PLA, which is produced by fermented starch extracted from plants to produce lactic acid then bonded. Since plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and synthesize starch, Pieclex does not increase the total amount of carbon dioxide that causes global warming, the newly founded JV company says

Antimicrobial and deodorant functions

Pieclex fabric generates electricity by using the expansion and contraction of the fabric produced by human movement or other motions. This enables antimicrobial and deodorant functions without using chemical agents or organic solvents, helping to reduce the environmental load. Antibacterial function which prevents odour generated by bacteria that decomposes sweat and sebum.

Future development

Going forward, Pieclex Co., Ltd. will develop a wide range of applications of Pieclex, from clothing products such as sportswear and innerwear, to industrial products including filters and sanitary materials. Production and sales will start from fiscal 2020, with the goal of 10 billion yen in sales by fiscal 2025.

Murata's Chairman of the Board and President Tsuneo Murata commented on the joint venture: "The fabric developed by the newly established Pieclex Co., Ltd. makes use of Murata's piezoelectric technology and knowledge cultivated through products such as SAW filters, resonators, and sensors. To the present, Murata has contributed mainly in the field of electronic equipment, and I am very happy that this combination with Teijin Frontier's fabric technology will let us challenge the creation of new value in the field of fabrics. This joint venture will make the most of both companies' strengths and contribute to the creation of prosperous lifestyles through electrical fabrics."

Teijin Frontier's President Chief Executive Officer Shinji Nikko, added: "The piezoelectric fabric developed by Pieclex Co., Ltd. realizes antimicrobial performance without using chemical agents, etc. It also contributes to environmental load reduction as it applies plant-derived raw materials. Pieclex integrates Murata and Teijin Frontier's cutting-edge technologies, and I believe this innovative fabric will be essential for sustainable future lifestyle. By providing fabric that have never existed before, we will contribute to realize bountiful lifestyles and beautiful environment."

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