IGF-AiF 18434BR


In this project, optimised electrically conductive textile structures were developed that are capable of transmitting high currents and can be produced in a cost-optimised manner. Through a targeted structuring of the interconnection of the conductor paths in connection with an optimised control of the electrical consumers, significant quantities of the expensive electrically conductive thread material are saved and thus the material costs can be significantly reduced.

For reasons of profitability and safety, it is essential to develop conductive textile circuit matrices that are already designed in the circuit layout to optimise the supply lines for high currents and ensure optimal current distribution. To this end, guidelines for the construction of textile circuit carriers that enable the transmission of high currents are to be developed. The aim of the project is the development of current-carrying textile circuit matrices and their cost-effective production. Electrically conductive structures are to be developed that are capable of transmitting currents in the range of 5...10 A.

The circuit structures currently used for textile applications in the field of heating and lighting technology are not optimised for high currents. Likewise, the structure of textile conductors is not designed for such applications. The development of suitable textile circuit matrices with high current-carrying capacity offers great potential for saving expensive electrically conductive thread materials. In order to determine the current-carrying capacity of conductors, their heating under application conditions must be recorded. For this purpose, a measurement setup was developed, which is shown in Figure 1. A defined current is fed into the conductor tracks via a power supply unit with adjustable output voltage, which can be precisely adjusted by means of theelectronic load connected to the other side. A thermal imaging camera is used to record the heating of the conductor tracks and the surrounding tissue. In this way, it is determined whether the conductor paths heat up during a defined current transmission within the temperature range permissible for the application or whether inadmissible heating occurs. Alternatively, temperature sensors or infrared thermometers can be used to determine the temperature of the conductive path.

Fig. 1: Measuring set-up current carrying capacityFig. 1: Measuring set-up current carrying capacity Fig. 2: Double segment of the textile luminaire with embroidered conductor tracks and LED equipmentFig. 2: Double segment of the textile luminaire with embroidered conductor tracks and LED equipment Fig. 3: LED lampFig. 3: LED lamp


In general, the following strategies are useful for the success of the optimised circuit design:

1. material selection

2. increasing the operating voltage

3. use of DC/DC converters

4. use of data bus systems

5. optimised power distribution

6. intelligent energy management

7. use of energy-saving consumers

8. power circuits with separate voltage sources

9. multiple voltage supply

10. integration of conventional cables

11. optimal conductor widths

12. anti-parallel connection of loads


Results and Applications
In the project, findings and guidelines from the electronics industry were adapted and further developed for textile applications. It was possible to show how applications with high current requirements can be realised on a textile basis despite the high electrical resistance of the textile-processable conductor materials. In the project, a textile luminaire was developed as a demonstrator in which a high number of LEDs were integrated on textile conductor paths. By applying the strategies developed in the project, it was possible to realise such a luminaire that would result in a current flow of several amperes if the LEDs were simply connected in parallel. Based on the project results, the luminaire can now be operated with a current flow of only 400 mA. The solution here consists of the structured parallel connection of the LEDs in individual segments and the series connection of the segments to each other with an increase in the operating voltage from 3 V to 36 V (see figure 2). This means that commercially available power supply units can be used for the voltage supply. Optionally, the lamp's segments could also be equipped with twice the number of LEDs, which then have to be connected with reversed polarity. If the lamp is operated with alternating voltage, a doubling of the brightness can be achieved, as all LEDs then light up simultaneously. Figure 3 shows the finished LED lamp. The implementation of the R&D results can take place with representatives of the textile industry, embroidery companies, in medical technology as well as in the electronics industry, and with the end users, the manufacturers of smart textiles. Based on the knowledge gained in the project, new products can be developed and new functions can be integrated into textiles.

Dipl.-Ing. Frank Thurner
Phone: +49 (0) 3661 / 611-346
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The IGF project 18434 BR of the Research Association Forschungskuratorium Textil was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy via the AiF within the framework of the Programme for the Promotion of Industrial Cooperative Research (IGF) on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag. The final report is available to the interested public in the Federal Republic of Germany.