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All about Light-up Wear

An Electro luminescent Light Source.

In its most simple form an electro luminescent light source consist of a phosphorous material sandwiched between two electrodes, one of which is transparent. A phosphorous material is simply a substance that glows when excited by electricity. An electrode is a material that emits or receives electricity, for example glass or metal.
Electro luminescent light sources provide bright uniform light over a large area and are extremely thin. For this reason electro luminescent lamps have many practical applications. Electro luminescent lamps may be found in clock and instrument dials, in safety lighting and bill board displays.

A ‘light-up’ or ‘animated’ t-shirt is an ordinary t-shirt enhanced with a graphic illuminating electro luminescent panel. While glow-in-the-dark apparel and apparel utilizing LED displays have long been popular novelty items light-up t-shirts with electro luminescent displays are a fairly recent phenomenon. The unique characteristics of electro luminescent light-up technology make light-up t-shirts a versatile and unique alternative to traditional light-up methods. This article aims to discuss the science behind an electro luminescent display and maps the development of electro luminescent displays from their most basic form to use in today’s ‘light-up’ t-shirts. The process of creating a completed ‘light-up’ t-shirt will also be discussed.

Electro-luminescent technologies in a nutshell.

Electro-luminescent technologies works in a similar patterns as neon signs. At Electro-Wear Ltd our product are based on a similar technologies. Rather that using phosphorous gaze, we used a white phosphorous powder with the same property as the previous gaze When entering in contact to a electric current the powder react by glowing. This powder can be laid on almost any surface material and therefore allow more flexible applications, as our product for examples.
What makes our panels really thin and flexible are conductive plastic panel layered in 3 different layers.

The first layer is an Electricity conductive plastic panel, where circuit are printed in lines, generally 7. At the end of each circuit lay an area painted with Electro-luminescent powder.

The second layer which lay on top of the first one, is solely used to isolate the third layer from the first layer, this second layer does not conduct electricity, it is non-conductive.

On the third layer is printed the designs that you see on our merchandising for example a star. The third layer is printed using silk printing technologies, that is commonly used on a manufacturing scale, to print any designs on garments, such as a T-Shirts for example.

Other technologies can be used when for examples we need photos printing rather than graphics, like a portrait or a sunset, with infinite gradient colors and high resolution and details.
If you were to compare the first layer and third layer, when powering on a designs you will easily see that the area that light up in the design are the one that take the shape covered by the Electro-luminescent powder in the first layer, and any area of a layer that lays on top of this first layer, will glow by the corresponding area of the first layer.

Electro luminescent Panels and Light Up T-shirts.

A light-up t-shirt is created by applying an electro luminescent panel to an ordinary t-shirt. In a well made light-up t-shirt the electro luminescent panel will be stitched to a Velcro backing. A Velcro patch sewn to the t-shirt allows the panel to be attached and removed at ease.

The Future of Light Up Apparel

Electro luminescent panels today are a highly versatile light source. Electro luminescent panels may be created in an infinite number of designs and in a range of colors (see www.Electro-Wear.com for some examples). Flashing sequences may be manipulated to animate the design and in recent developments may even combine a sound activation device to create sound responsive animations. Electro luminescent panels are increasingly popular in the advertising industry for their versatility. The light-weight and flexible design of an electro luminescent panel allows it to be applied to a variety of other mediums, besides t-shirts. ‘Light-up’ caps and ‘light-up’badges are increasingly popular forms of ‘light-up’ apparel and work in much the same way as the electro luminescent t-shirt described above.