Research aims to explore new techniques for the textiles industry and boost sustainability

November 14, 2012 Comments Off
                  

Loughborough University

A collaborative research project between Loughborough University’s School of the Arts and De Montfort University’s School of Fashion and Textiles aims to explore new technologies for the colouring and patterning of textiles and boost the sustainability of the textile industry.

Post graduate students from each University are investigating enzymatic and laser processing technologies and their combination. Whilst lasers and enzymes have both been used in textiles before, their application and potential for use as a creative design tool is unexplored and this will be the focus of the research.

In the project enzyme technology will be developed for colour and 3D pattern design effects. The techniques used and effects achieved will be enhanced through the use of laser both pre and post enzyme treatment and by targeting specific fibres.

The research 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, the amounts of water and energy used and effluent produced.

Substantial funding of over £200,000 has been received for the project 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 research is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Dr Faith Kane, lecturer in Textiles at Loughborough’s School of the Arts is supervising student Laura Morgan together with Professor John Tyrer from the School of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering. At De Montfort University Professor Jinsong Shen and Dr Edward Smith are supervising student Chetna Prajapati.

Dr Kane comments: “We are very excited at the prospect of this research creating exciting new design opportunities with the benefit of delivering efficiency benefits and improved sustainability for our sector.”

Professor Shen, co-ordinator of the project said: This is a good opportunity to bring biotechnology and laser technology together in developing innovative techniques for textile design. This kind of research could make a real difference to the textile industry and its sustainability.”

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