Engineering of Fibrous Smart Materials

The Engineering of Fibrous Smart Materials (EFSM) group is a part of the Faculty of Engineering Technology with important strategic objectives – building and extending necessary knowledge and expertise to support the textile and related industry in the Netherlands in their need to develop a strong international position.

Our mission

  • Transfer progress in interface and colloid science into fibre and fabric technology
  • Research and knowledge creation on smart textiles at fibre level
  • Implementation of the research results into education and training
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IN TEXTILE PROCESSES, DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES MEET – PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY, BIO-TECHNOLOGY, MATERIALS SCIENCE AND PROCESS ENGINEERING.

The research program focuses on performance targeting and the intensification of different textile processes, containing:

NEW APPROACHES FOR TEXTILE FUNCTIONALIZATION

  • Functionalization of textiles using microgel technique: To provide new textile materials for specific advanced applications, e.g. medical, safety and care, textiles with conventional properties but desire functionalities will be created by modification of their surfaces. This modification will be done in several ways, based on stimuli-responsible hydrogel microparticles consisting of chitosan and other biocompatible polymers to achieve systems with “intelligent” liquid management properties.
  • Functionalization of textiles by digitally micro-disposing fluids: The main goal of these studies is to develop and implement a new technology based on a novel environmental friendly flexible digital process including micro-disposing of multi-functional liquids over textile substrates by means of a multi-nozzle jetting (inkjet printing technology). One example is to develop single sided hydrophobic fabrics without affecting the open weave structure.

PROVIDING CONTROLLED-RELEASE FUNCTIONALITIES

Textile materials with controlled released properties can release chemicals in a controlled way. The studies are focuses on understanding of chemical and physical principles surrounding controlled release systems, i.e. identifying suitable host systems (e.g. cyclodextrins) as well as suitable guest chemicals (e.g. with anti-microbial properties, drugs) to be included in the host systems.

CATALYSIS

Before dyeing or printing textile materials, fabrics have to be pre-treated for a better accessibility of dye molecules. In cotton pre-treatment, the fabric is desized, scored and bleached. These processes can be performed at elevated temperatures and high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide. In our research program, new processes will be developed to treat textile materials, using oxidative catalysis which can be performed at much lower temperatures (40C) and with a significant reduction of chemicals, contributing to direct and indirect energy savings, respectively.

BIO-CATALYSIS

Due to increasing governmental and environmental restrictions and the freshwater availability, textile processes will be substantially shifted. Research initiative taken by the Textile Technology Group aims to fundamental enzyme studies and their application in textile environmental friendly processing. The focus is on (i) cellulase technology in modification of cellulosic materials, e.g. to enhance strength of recycled fibres; (ii) pectinase technology towards an enzymatic scouring process for cotton containing textiles; (iii) enzymatic modification of synthetic fibres (polyamide, polyester and polyacrylonitrile).

SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY AND WETTING DYNAMICS

Surface properties are the result of nano-, meso- and macroscopic characteristics of materials. Surface topography influences wetting properties. The knowledge of liquid flow in porous textiles materials is often limited, and process conditions are often chosen on an empirical basis. Advances in characterization of surface properties of textile materials make it possible to relate macro- and mesoscopic properties to them at a nanometer level, even under conditions far from equilibrium. On the basis, relationships between topography, wettability and construction parameters of textile materials are developed.

More information about the research performed can be found in research projects