Realize a bio-based knitted antimicrobial demonstration textile.


Sep 30, 2021


Mar 30, 2022


Functional fibers allow the production of textiles with added characteristics such as flame retardant, water resistant and antimicrobial products. Antimicrobial fibers can prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi on textiles such as in sports garments and medical face masks. While the functionality of these fibers is already successfully realized, the means to reach these characteristics such as the use of silver ions, bisphenol and ammonium compounds are environmentally harmful and toxic. Additionally, the fibers’ raw materials are usually carbon based. While the energy sector is continuously shifting towards less carbon emitting processes, there is still great potential in the materials sector. Furthermore, there is apparent potential in shifting to bio-based raw materials. To show the possibilities of using bio-based raw materials textile demonstrators made of antimicrobial knitted textiles will be produced during this research project.

AIM //

The aim of the project is to realize a knitted antimicrobial demonstration textile made of PLA with added polyphosphate which is responsible for the antimicrobial characteristic. Both of these materials are based on bio-based resources. The process chain and the proof of concept will be visualized with the help of the raw materials, compounds, yarn with additives and the knitted demonstration textile in a portable display for conferences and other public events.

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To realize the project’s intended goal a cooperation is taking place between Hoffmann & Voss GmbH (H&V), a company specialized in processing technical polymers, the Institute of Biotechnology (Bio VI) and the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University. The polyphosphates are fabricated by Bio VI and are later used by ITA to create the first fibers and determine processing parameters such as dwelling times and temperatures in the melt spinning line. H&V will determine the compatibility of the polyphosphates and PLA during compounding, produce various compounds and analyze their characteristics. In the end multifilament yarn will be melt-spun at ITA and knit into demonstration fabrics. Additionally, the antimicrobial activity will be determined by Bio VI. Within the project the whole process chain will be investigated, which will make it possible to evaluate the application’s potential. If successful, the resulting fibers can be used in various textiles such as medical bandages, sports clothing or air filters.