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Photo: Pim Top for FranklinTill
29.11.2022

Heimtextil Trends 23/24: Textiles Matter

The Heimtextil Trend Preview 23/24 presented future-oriented design concepts and inspiration for the textile furnishing sector. With ‘Textiles Matter’, Heimtextil 2023 wants to set the benchmark for tomorrow’s forward-facing and sustainable textile furnishing. Hence, the focus is on circularity. Marta Giralt Dunjó of futures research agency FranklinTill (Great Britain) presented the design prognoses for 23/24. At the coming Heimtextil in Frankfurt am Main from 10 to 13 January 2023, the presentations of new products will generate stimulating impulses in the Trend Space.

The Heimtextil Trend Preview 23/24 presented future-oriented design concepts and inspiration for the textile furnishing sector. With ‘Textiles Matter’, Heimtextil 2023 wants to set the benchmark for tomorrow’s forward-facing and sustainable textile furnishing. Hence, the focus is on circularity. Marta Giralt Dunjó of futures research agency FranklinTill (Great Britain) presented the design prognoses for 23/24. At the coming Heimtextil in Frankfurt am Main from 10 to 13 January 2023, the presentations of new products will generate stimulating impulses in the Trend Space.

The Heimtextil Trend Council – consisting of FranklinTill Studio (London), Stijlinstituut Amsterdam and Denmark’s SPOTT Trends & Business agency – offers insights into the future of the national and international market. The focus is more than ever before on sustainability and the circular economy, the main factors in setting the trends for the season 23/24.

Textiles Matter: bear responsibility
Textiles are an integral part of modern life. The material applications and the manufacturing processes are no less multifarious than user expectations. And this represents a great challenge for the international textile industry, which obtains its raw materials from a broad spectrum of sources and uses numerous processes to make a huge variety of products. This offers a great potential for the sustainable development of the textile industry in the future. The Heimtextil Trends show ways in which this potential can be utilized and sustainable developments promoted. Under the motto ‘Textiles Matter’, visitors can explore concepts for increased circularity, which will generate new impulses for the sustainable market of the future.

"Considering the state of environmental emergency we are currently living through, the textile industry has a responsibility to examine its processes, and change for the better. That is why for this edition of the Heimtextil Trends we are taking a material’s first approach, and focusing on the sourcing, design, and sustainability of materials. Textiles Matter showcases the potential of circularity and celebrates design initiatives that are beautiful, relevant and importantly sustainable”, explains Marta Giralt Dunjó of FranklinTill.

Change via circularity
The Trend Space at the coming Heimtextil 2023 will revolve around ideas and solutions for circularity in the textile sector. How can textiles be produced in a sustainable way? What recycling options are there? What does the optimum recycling of textile products look like? Within the framework of the circular economy, materials are continuously reused. On the one hand, this reduces the need for new raw materials and, on the other hand, cuts the amount of waste generated. In the technical cycle, inorganic materials, such as nylon, polyester, plastic and metal, can be recycled with no loss of quality. In the biological cycle, organic materials, such as linen and bast fibres, are returned to nature at the end of their useful life. This is the basis of the four trend themes: ‘Make and Remake’, ‘Continuous’, ‘From Earth’ and ‘Nature Engineered’.

Make and Remake
Pre-used materials, deadstock and remnant textiles are given a new lease of life with the focus shifting to the aesthetics of repair and taking the form of a specific design element of the recycled product. Bright and joyful colours and techniques, such as overprinting, overdyeing, bricolage, collage and patchwork, result in new and creative products. Layered colour patterns and graphics lead to bold and maximalist, yet conscious, designs.

Continuous
The Continuous trend theme describes closed-loop systems in which materials are recycled into new, waste-free products again and again. Putative waste materials are separated out and reprocessed as new fibres, composites and textiles. Thus, synthetic and cellulose yarns can be produced zero-waste. Thanks to technically advanced reclamation processes, the materials retain their original quality and aesthetic. Practicality, essentialism and longevity determine the design of Continuous products.

From Earth
This theme focuses on the natural world and harmony with the nature of organic materials. Natural colours communicate warmth and softness. Imperfect textures, signs of wear and irregularities create ecological and earth-born aesthetics. Earthen and botanic shades, natural variation and tactile richness dominate the From Earth segment. Unrefined and raw surfaces, unbleached textiles and natural dyes celebrate materials in their original states.

Nature Engineered
Nature Engineered uses mechanical means to elevate and perfect organic materials, such as bast fibres, hemp, linen and nettles. Cutting-edge techniques process natural textiles into sophisticated and smart products. Combined with shades of beige and brown, clean lines and shapes are the distinguishing features of this theme.

More information:
Heimtextil Trends FranklinTill
Source:

Heimtextil, Messe Frankfurt

Photo: Bcomp
22.11.2022

Made in Switzerland: Is Flax the New Carbon?

  • Bcomp wins BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the category “Newcomer of the Year”

The sixth BMW Group Supplier Innovation Awards were presented at the BMW Welt in Munich on 17 November 2022. The coveted award was presented in a total of six categories: powertrain & e-mobility, sustainability, digitalisation, customer experience, newcomer of the year and exceptional team performance.

Bcomp won the BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the Newcomer of the Year category. Following a successful collaboration with BMW M Motorsport for the new BMW M4 GT4 that extensively uses Bcomp’s powerRibs™ and ampliTex™ natural fibre solutions and BMW iVentures recently taking a stake in Bcomp as lead investor in the Series B round, this award is another major step and recognition on the path to decarbonizing mobility.

  • Bcomp wins BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the category “Newcomer of the Year”

The sixth BMW Group Supplier Innovation Awards were presented at the BMW Welt in Munich on 17 November 2022. The coveted award was presented in a total of six categories: powertrain & e-mobility, sustainability, digitalisation, customer experience, newcomer of the year and exceptional team performance.

Bcomp won the BMW Group Supplier Innovation Award in the Newcomer of the Year category. Following a successful collaboration with BMW M Motorsport for the new BMW M4 GT4 that extensively uses Bcomp’s powerRibs™ and ampliTex™ natural fibre solutions and BMW iVentures recently taking a stake in Bcomp as lead investor in the Series B round, this award is another major step and recognition on the path to decarbonizing mobility.

“Innovations are key to the success of our transformation towards electromobility, digitalisation and sustainability. Our award ceremony recognises innovation and cooperative partnership with our suppliers – especially in challenging times,” said Joachim Post, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network at the ceremony held at BMW Welt in Munich.

BMW first started to work with Bcomp’s materials in 2019 when they used high-performance natural fibre composites in the BMW iFE.20 Formula E car. From this flax fibre reinforced cooling shaft, the collaboration evolved and soon after, the proprietary ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre solutions were found successfully substituting selected carbon fibre components in DTM touring cars from BMW M Motorsport. By trickling down and expanding into other vehicle programs, such developments highlight the vital role that BMW M Motorsports plays as a technology lab for the entire BMW Group. This continues in the form of the latest collaboration with Bcomp to include a higher proportion of renewable raw materials in the successor of the BMW M4 GT4.

With the launch of the new BMW M4 GT4, it will be the serial GT car with the highest proportion of natural fibre components. Bcomp’s ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ flax fibre solutions can be found throughout the interior on the dashboard and centre console, as well as on bodywork components such as the hood, front splitter, doors, trunk, and rear wing. Aside from the roof, there are almost no carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components that were not replaced by the renewable high-performance flax materials. “Product sustainability is increasing in importance in the world of motorsport too,” says Franciscus van Meel, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW M GmbH.

Bcomp is a leading solutions provider for natural fibre reinforcements in high performance applications from race to space.

The company started as a garage project in 2011 with a mission to create lightweight yet high performance skis. The bCores™ were launched and successfully adopted by some of the biggest names in freeride skiing. The founders, material science PhDs from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), used flax fibres to reinforce the balsa cores and improve shear stiffness. Impressed by the excellent mechanical properties of flax fibres, the development to create sustainable lightweighting solutions for the wider mobility markets started.

Flax is an indigenous plant that grows naturally in Europe and has been part of the agricultural history for centuries. It requires very little water and nutrients to grow successfully. In addition, it acts as a rotational crop, thus enhancing harvests on existing farmland. Neither cultivation nor processing of the flax plants requires any chemicals that could contaminate ground water and harvesting is a completely mechanical process. After harvesting the entire flax plant can be used for feed, to make oil and its fibres are especially used for home textiles and clothing. The long fibre that comes from the flax plant possesses very good mechanical properties and outstanding damping properties in relation to its density, making it especially suited as a natural fibre reinforcement for all kinds of polymers.

The harvesting and processing of flax takes place locally in the rural areas it was grown in. Using European flax sourced through a well-established and transparent supply chain it allows to support the economic and social structure in rural areas thanks to the large and skilled workforce required to sustain the flax production. When it comes to the production of technical products like the powerRibs™ reinforcement grid, Bcomp is investing in local production capacities close to its headquarters in the city of Fribourg, Switzerland, thus creating new jobs and maintaining technical know-how in the area. The production is built to be as efficient as possible and with minimal environmental impact and waste.

Further strengthening the local economy, Bcomp aims to hire local companies for missions and with the headquarters being located in Fribourg’s “Blue Factory” district, Bcomp can both benefit from and contribute to the development of this sustainable and diverse quarter.

Source:

Bcomp; BMW Group

Photo Pixabay
16.11.2022

Green chemistry transforms facemasks into Ethernet cables

Swansea University academics have pioneered a process which converts the carbon found in discarded facemasks to create high-quality single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNT) which were then used to make Ethernet cable with broadband quality.
 
The study, which has been published in Carbon Letters, outlines how this new green chemistry could be used to upcycle materials which would otherwise be thrown away and transform them into high value materials with real-world applications. The CNTs produced by this technique have the potential not only to be used in Ethernet cables, but also in the production of lightweight batteries used in electric cars and drones.

Swansea University academics have pioneered a process which converts the carbon found in discarded facemasks to create high-quality single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNT) which were then used to make Ethernet cable with broadband quality.
 
The study, which has been published in Carbon Letters, outlines how this new green chemistry could be used to upcycle materials which would otherwise be thrown away and transform them into high value materials with real-world applications. The CNTs produced by this technique have the potential not only to be used in Ethernet cables, but also in the production of lightweight batteries used in electric cars and drones.

Professor Alvin Orbaek White, of Swansea University’s Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI):
“Single-use facemasks are a real travesty for the recycling system as they create vast amounts of plastic waste - much of it ending up in our oceans. During the study, we established that the carbon inside the facemask can be used as a pretty good feedstock to make high-quality materials like CNTs.

“CNTs are highly sought-after because they have preferential physical properties and tend to be much more costly on an industrial scale. So, through this study, we demonstrated that we could make very high value materials by processing the CNTs from what are, essentially, worthless waste facemasks.”

The team also studied the energy costs involved in using this process and concluded that the technique was green not only in levels of resource consumption but also in the product value generation as opposed to waste creation. Also, the Ethernet cable produced using the CNTs was good quality and adhered to Category 5 transmission speeds while easily exceeding the benchmarks set for broadband internet in most countries, including the UK.

Professor Orbaek White said:
“Using CNT films in batteries instead of metal films has a lower impact on the environment as the use of carbon offsets the need for mining and extraction activities. This is a crucial piece of work as it contributes to not only a circular economy but is also scalable and is viable for industrial processing and has green chemistry at its core.”

Source:

Swansea University

© ITM/TUD - Biomimetic fish fin with dielectric elastomer actors und fiber reinforcement.
08.11.2022

Funding for Fibre-Elastomer Composites: Intelligent materials for robotics and prostheses

  • Successful approval of the 2nd funding period of the DFG Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive fibre-elastomer composites"

Researchers based in Dresden are going to develop a completely new class of materials in which actuators and sensors are integrated directly into flexible fibre composites – contrary to the state of the art. To this end, the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved the 2nd phase of Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive Fibre-Elastomer Composites" at TU Dresden in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. The spokesperson is Professor Chokri Cherif from the Institute for Textile Machinery and High-Performance Textile Materials Technology (ITM) at TU Dresden. A total of 22 doctoral students will be supported in eleven interdisciplinary sub-projects over the next 4.5 years, in addition to material and project funding.
 

  • Successful approval of the 2nd funding period of the DFG Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive fibre-elastomer composites"

Researchers based in Dresden are going to develop a completely new class of materials in which actuators and sensors are integrated directly into flexible fibre composites – contrary to the state of the art. To this end, the German Research Foundation (DFG) approved the 2nd phase of Research Training Group 2430 "Interactive Fibre-Elastomer Composites" at TU Dresden in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. The spokesperson is Professor Chokri Cherif from the Institute for Textile Machinery and High-Performance Textile Materials Technology (ITM) at TU Dresden. A total of 22 doctoral students will be supported in eleven interdisciplinary sub-projects over the next 4.5 years, in addition to material and project funding.
 
As a result the simulation-based development of intelligent material combinations for so-called self-sufficient fibre composites shall be available. Actuators and sensors are already integrated into the structures and no longer placed subsequently, as it is actual the case. In the first funding phase, the important basis for the large two-dimensional deformations in soft, biomimetic structures were developed. The further funding by the DFG is a confirmation of the outstanding results achieved so far. Building on this, the second funding phase will focus on ionic and helical actuator-sensor concepts. Combined with intelligent design and control algorithms, self-sufficient, three-dimensionally deforming material systems will emerge. This will make these systems more robust, complex preforming patterns can be customised at the desired location - reversibly and contact-free.
 
Fibre composites are used increasingly in moving components due to their high specific stiffness and strengths as well as the possibility of tailoring these properties. By integrating adaptive functions into such materials, the need for subsequent actuator placement is eliminated and the robustness of the system is significantly improved. Actuators and sensors based on textiles, such as those being researched and developed at the ITM, are particularly promising in this respect, as they can be integrated directly into the fibre composites during the manufacturing process.

With their innovative properties, interactive fibre-elastomer composites are predestined for numerous fields of application in mechanical and vehicle engineering, robotics, architecture, orthotics and prosthetics: Examples include systems for precise gripping and transport processes (e.g. in hand prostheses, closures and deformable membranes) and components (e.g. trim tabs for land and water vehicles).

More information:
robot Fibers Composites Funding
Source:

TU Dresden: Institute for Textile Machinery and High Performance Textile Materials (ITM)