Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC at Techtextil

Today, textiles are used for more than just clothes or bags – they are high tech materials for high-tech applications. High-tech textiles must fulfil a number of functions and meet many requirements. Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, a material research institute, has dedicated some major developing work to this most intriguing research area. It will present its latest findings and results at Techtextil. On display will be novel textile-integrated sensors, a unique multifunctional coating system for textiles and fibres, and textile processing of glass, carbon, and ceramics fibres to fibre preforms.

Pressure sensors

Thin materials and new kinds of sensors now make it possible to integrate silicone elastomer sensors in textiles, the institute reports. They are suitable for applications in medical devices, sports equipment or even furniture and automotive parts, without interfering with the base material or the user.For example, a special stocking was designed for diabetics so they can monitor the pressure load on their feet while walking. The in-stocking sensors provide 3D pressure readings and will warn the wearer whenever the pressure builds up too high at just one spot.The Fraunhofer ISC pressure sensors are combined with the wireless electronics unit developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS and the technology provided by the Zentrum für Telematik ZfT, so that readings can be transmitted to smartphones or tablets for easy monitoring.

Novel coating system

In addition to active sensor functions, the call is on for equipment with additional passive functions, according to the institute. In order to provide textiles with other functions than just mechanical strength, they must undergo different refinement processes.Up to now, multiple coatings with different coating systems had to be used to provide a product with more than just one function, and the selection of property improvements was limited. At Techtextil, the Fraunhofer ISC will present the novel coating system InnoSolTEX, which is said to enable the combination of up to six functions in just one processing strep.Several partners teamed up with the Fraunhofer ISC to jointly realize the new refinement solution. The product is based on ORMOCERs, a class of environment-friendly materials developed at the Fraunhofer ISC. The water-based coating system is said to provide textiles with hydrophobic, abrasion resistant, flame retardant, antimicrobial, antistatic and washproof properties, in any combination.

2D and 3D structures (picture above)

The processing of textile fibres into 2D and even 3D structures with new technologies becomes more and more important. The innovative production processes can be applied to inorganic fibres to create new applications.Fraunhofer Center for High Temperature Materials and Design HTL and the Application Center for Textile Fibre Ceramics will present their projects and services for the development of ceramic fibre composites at Techtextil.Their work involves all stages of processing, from the base fibres to the final CMC components, so that both material manufacturers and material users are addressed.

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