Kinetic knitted fabrics with hand-dyed space yarn and shape memory alloy wire.

Flux is movement, constant change at irregular patterns. Kinetic, twisted, animated, continuous flow. It is intended as energy flux, coming from the vibrations and power of sound. Sound energy flux is visually represented by soundwaves and frequencies, which are the main inspiration for this project.

By analysing their structure in terms of repetition, intervals, length, depth, the concept is then visually translated through the colour, pattern and texture of the samples, which feature a particular shape memory alloy wire. This smart material allows movement when activated by higher temperatures or applied electricity.

FLUX LAYOUT 1flux layout 2layout4

Smart materials are functional materials that alter when exposed to an external stimulus, which means they change when something happens in the environment around them. There are different types of smart materials: Electrical, Magnetic, Optical, Thermal and Mechanical. Their classification depends on the relationship between the stimulus and their reaction, and their use can be applied to different fields, such as biomedical, textiles, civil, energy, electronic, aerospace and bionic engineering.

One category that nowadays occupies a significant place within the vast realm of functional materials, being object of continuous and promising research advances, is Shape Memory Materials (SMM).  This includes the Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) and Shape Memory Polymers (SMP). When heated to a specific temperature, these elements have the ability to remember a shape which has been previously given to them through mechanical deformation, and this phenomenon is called Shape Memory effect (SME).

The other characteristic that typifies these materials is super-plasticity. In fact, when they are below the activation temperature at the weaker state, which is called Martensite, they are super flexible and easily deformed. However, when higher temperatures occur, these materials are in the stronger Austenite phase. In practice, they can be shaped in many different forms but when exposed to heat they will revert to the original austenitic state, recovering previous strength and shape.

The slideshow below shows how one of the fabrics shrinks when the SMA wire is activated through a low voltage battery.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.