Academic partnering to explore new technologies for textiles

Academic partnering to explore new technologies for textiles

We wish to introduce a collaborative research project between De Monfort University (DMU) and Loughborough University (both GB) to explore new technologies for textiles and boosting sustainability of the industry.

Postgraduate students from each university are investigating the colouring and patterning of textiles using enzymatic and laser processing technologies and their combinations. Lasers and enzymes have both been used in textiles before, but their application and potential for use as a creative design tool is unexplored and thus becomes the focus of the projected research where enzyme technology will be developed for colour and 3D pattern design effects. The techniques used and effects to be achieved will be enhanced through the use of laser both pre and post enzyme treatment and by targeting specific fibres. The research work has potentially far reaching consequences for the sustainability of the textiles and clothing sector. Chemicals are routinely used in traditional dyeing, bleaching, printing and finishing techniques.

Large amounts of water and energy are used and effluent created in many processes. The use of enzyme and laser technology offers the prospect of substantial reductions in the use of chemicals, as well as the amounts of water and energy used and effluent produced.

A substantial funding of GBP 200000 has been provided from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Speedo, Camira Fabrics and Teresa Green Design are also supporting the project with fabric sourcing, design prototyping and concept evaluation. The completion of the research is earmarked for 2015.

At DMU Professor Jinsong Shen, co-ordinator of the project, and Dr. Edward Smith, from the School of Fashion and Textiles, are supervising student Chetna Pajapati, whereas Dr. Faith Kane, lecturer in Textiles at Loughborough will supervise student Laura Morgan, jointly with Professor John Tyrer from the School of Manufacturing and Engineering.

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