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Posted: Apr 18, 2013
Spanish INFINITEX project to develop functional, smart textiles
(Nanowerk News) The goal of INFINITEX (the Spanish acronym for Research into New Functions and Incorporated Intelligence in Textiles) project, led by the Iturri Group and financed by the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation), is to provide a boost to a national value chain for working with high added value functional and intelligent fabrics, as well as increasing their functions performances in terms of protection and comfort.
The 15 companies making up the Consortium are: Grupo Iturri, Antecuir, Angles Textil, Grupo Antolin-Ingenieria, Comersan, Sati Grupo Textil, Estambril, Francisco Albero, Industrial Quimica Del Nalon, Manterol, Marina Textil, Selvafil, Sistemas y Procesos Avanzados, Textulan and Yflow Sistemas y Desarrollos S.L. Also collaborating in the project are 11 research bodies of recognised prestige and which are involved in different disciplines related to materials, electronics, textiles or biomechanics.
The project, initiated in 2009 and due to finish in 2013, focuses on seeking solutions in the sectors of defence, industry and the emergency services (in applications for protection and personnel equipment), as well as in the automobile sector. It focuses on both the development of new technologies and new textile materials — intelligent and functional — as on their subsequent weaving, finish and fabric-making.
Some thirty organisations are taking part in this major research project — amongst them being Gaiker-IK4 and Yflow Sistemas y Desarrollos S.L. — which has a budget of 29 million euros. What is involved, in fact, is a reference project for the textile sector internationally, given the high level of specifications anticipated within the remit of the project, its high innovative content and the significant impact on a wide range of sectors, translating for the businesses making up the Consortium into a commitment to their strategies for growth and entry into the foreign market.
Nanomaterials, shape-memorising materials, electroluminous materials (emitting light when subjected to electric current), photoluminous materials (emitting light when exposed to light), materials with biocidal properties (disinfectants), anti-vector ones (insect repellents) anti-radiation and fire retardant materials – all have a place within the framework of the research. At Gaiker-IK4, present at the primary stages of the project as the Technological Centre expert in developing new plastic materials and their composites, nanomaterials and intelligent materials, we have developed, together with Yflow Sistemas y Desarrollos S.L., technology company based in Malaga, a method that enables anchoring microcapsules with active components and which are applied in finishes to textile fabrics with the goal of conferring special properties on them (hydrating, component-regenerating, and so on).
The development of this new method of anchoring which, for its application, requires similar conditions to those already employed by the textile industry in the dyeing process, enables the functionalisation of fabrics with the novelty that the microcapsules do not need any resin for their application, but anchor directly to the fabric itself, thus becoming more accessible and enabling the optimization of the active components released, when these are placed in direct contact with the skin or the air. As a consequence, the quality of the fabrics is greater and the properties of the functionalized fabrics mean that there is greater resistance to wear and tear caused by the washing of garments.
The anchoring technology developed has proved to have particularly effective behaviour in cellulose fibres (cotton, linen, etc.); these results will also be transferrable to synthetic fibres, extending the field of application to most textiles.