Kinetically Tunable, Active Auxetic, and Variable Recruitment Active Textiles from Hierarchical Assemblies

Rachael Granberry, Justin Barry, Brad Holschuh, Julianna Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Multifunctional textiles with programmable, multi-axial, distributed, and scalable actuation are highly desirable and presently unrealized. 1D torque-unbalanced active yarns within 2D textile structures are exploited to produce soft and scalable active textiles that exhibit tunable displacements, forces, stiffnesses, and kinematic deformations. Through a textile hierarchy spanning active material composition, yarn construction, textile geometry, and system architecture, these active textiles accomplish kinetic tunability, variable recruitment behaviors, and auxetic effects without mechanical contact, called active auxetic effects. New modes of pre-programmed multi-axial performance are enabled by geometrically manipulating—specifically pre-stressing and constraining—active filaments in torsion and leveraging their structural elastic instability within a textile geometry. The new kinematic motion afforded by torque-unbalanced active yarns enhances the performance of active textiles, which accomplish tensile strokes over 40%, generated blocked forces up to 308 N m−1, and specific work over 0.4. kJ kg−1. Advances in active textiles are demonstrated through multifunctional 3D applications, including a variable constriction pump that exhibits sequential actuation, a wearable that conforms multi-axially around the body, and a soft exoskeleton that performs assistive motions and on-body anchoring simultaneously. By harnessing the capabilities of active materials within a textile hierarchy, advances in the potentiality of multifunctional textiles are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000825
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 27 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF, grant No. 80NSSC17K0158). Thank you to Amy Ross from NASA Johnson Space Center and Dr. Santo Padula II from NASA Glenn Research Center for mentorship throughout this research. The authors would like to thank Rachel Boucher of Rach‐al‐Paca Fiber Mills for access to and assistance with industrial ring spinning equipment. Thank you to David Giles from the University of Minnesota Polymer Characterization Lab for training on the DSC equipment. Thank you to Kevin Eschen for assistance with setup and analysis of the contact sensing test. The authors would also like to thank Heidi Woelfle, manager of the Wearable Technology Lab, for her time and energy in support of this research. Thank you also Charles Weinberg, Henry Koon, and Vanessa Sanchez for useful discussions through this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • active auxetic effects
  • active textiles
  • functional textiles
  • programmable surfaces
  • textile hierarchies
  • variable recruitment


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