Definitions and classification

Fibres, yarns, and fabrics that have been designed and manufactured to contain technologies that give the user with greater functionality are known as smart textiles. In this chapter, we review the definitions and classifications of smart textiles based on different perspectives. 

Definitions of smart textiles

Intelligent or smart materials are the source of the term ‘smart textiles’. In 1989, Japan was the first country to define the term ‘Smart Material’. Silk thread with shape memory was the first textile material to be labelled as a ‘smart textile’ in retrospect. Smart textiles, also known as intelligent textiles, electro or e-textiles, are intelligent materials that detect and respond to external stimuli.  Simpler functional textiles are sometimes included in the definition of smart textiles [1,2].

The first formal definition was found as ‘smart textiles is composed of materials or structures that sense and react to environmental stimuli, such as those from mechanical, thermal, chemical, magnetic or other’ [3].

According to European committee for standardization (CEN), the definition of smart textile system is: ‘Assembly of textiles and non-textiles integrated into a product that retains its textile properties and interacts with its environment’ [4].

The CEN gives additional definition about integration levels:


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[4] European committee for standardization (CEN), Technical report, PDCEN/TR 16298:2011. 2011.

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