Protection against dirty inside roof linings of cars

Although Mönchengladbach has been a traditional textile branch place it was so far not considered an input generator for the automobile industry. In order to bring about a change in this respect, a good deal of development projects has been initiated by experts of the department textile and clothing technology (FTB) at the Niederrhein University of Technology. The department developed new functional equipment which provides a permanent protection against wet dirt on intensively used textile surfaces in car interiors.

The basis of the cleaning effect which shall enable the use of bright fabrics and thus provide a more comfortable space feeling between the bonnet and the car boot, is a dirt-repellent equipment, for instance for seat covers. By this way wet dirt ca

not penetrate into the fabrics and can be easily removed with an absorbent cloth. But can the protective effect be long-lasting? Dr. Kristina Klinkhammer who is responsible of the project underlines the proven high stability of the equipment for seat upholstery and the health safety of the material. Thanks to the use of silane components in the fabrics, a proper cleaning effect has been proven by means of a long-time test over 20.000 cycles where the fabric was subjected to high mechanical stress on a sort of abrasion automatic. Another benefit of the material is that the use of silanes allows a remarkable reduction of the required quantity of dirt-repellent fluorocarbons compared to conventional solutions.

However, the hazard of dry and tenacious dirt also exists on textile inside roof linings or covers for the various car pillars. These surfaces are mainly endangered by greying due to adhesion of dust. As a countermeasure the experts of the abovementioned department developed a protection mechanism which is based on silica, aluminum oxide or self-synthetized silica particles at the nanoscale and lower micrometer scale. The experts of Mönchenglach have created an adequate binding system as well. Mrs. Klinkhammer points out that surfaces prepared with such kind of protection can be easily and nearly completely freed from typical dry dirt by means of a conventional vacuum cleaner without the use of chemicals. In both cases, the industrial partners involved are examining how the results of the research work can be implemented in practice for further use in cars.

Evelyn Lempa

Evelyn Lempa

The combination of optical effect and practical benefit for the automobile industry should also be achieved by the implementation of another interesting university approach. The aim of the approach is the development of novel textile heating and lighting elements. In co-operation with industrial partners, the university scientist covered textile plate electrodes with special synthetic pastes possessing their own electric conductivity. By this way inside roof linings or car seats can gleam with a pale light. In such a manner the surfaces of seats, floor room and side linings could be heated with a minimum of energy input and without the need of inserting conductive yarns. Evelyn Lempa, project manager, underlines that the technology leap is remarkable for the branch because no boundaries will now be set to the design engineers and designers of textile base materials.

Hans-Werner Oertel

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