Embroidered electrodes for the fundamental understanding of redox flow cells (EmbelRed) - 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021

The use of intermittent renewable energy systems like solar and wind power in the electrical grid requires efficient energy storage systems to become viable. Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs) are a promising alternative for a safe, sustainable and cost-effective renewable storage energy system. The performance of the RFB systems depends on the operating conditions and characteristics of the cell (key components materials). Most of the existing analyses are obtained from RFBs with carbon-based electrodes, such as carbon felts or carbon paper, mainly due to their availability. The complexities of their morphological characteristics and the spatial distribution of properties make very difficult the detailed investigation of the physical and chemical processes occurring at the electrode surface. A new systematic approach combining empirical results with fundamental theory and formulation of models is required. We intend to fill this need with the means of a new technology that allows the fabrication of flexible customized electrodes based on technical embroidery to produce electrode geometries from simple (e.g. a grid made of conductive wires) to more complex patterns (e.g. a grid composed of multiple layers of varying patterns), as well as combinations of conductive wires with non-conductive yarns).

The project is funded under the FWF Hertha Firnberg Programme (project number T-1041).

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NanoStretch (02.2018 - 01.2021)

The realisation of stretchable conductive textiles is the basic requirement for the integration of miniaturised sensors in a textile structure, e.g. for humidity, temperature, pressure, gas sensors etc., as well as for connection concepts of sensors in large area textile sensor networks.
The basic concept of the project proposal is a permanent electroless metal coating of the fibre surface based on a nanosized metal seed layer template. Through formation of conductive coating layers of metal in the dimension of some hundreds of nanometer, conductive properties will be provided on the surface of insulating polymer fibres. Under tension the mobility of the fibres in the textile structure will allow continuous contact thus elastic structures with conductive properties will be delivered.
The research project will deliver scientific basic understanding of the formation mechanisms of nanostructured metal seed templates and the permanent conductive structures, on one hand. It will also focus on the development of an environmental friendly and economical technology to implement the technical concept to defined applications, on the other hand.
The project is funded by the FFG under the FTI - Program "Produktion der Zukunft"

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Meditex (01.2018 - 12.2019)

The aim of the research project Meditex is to develop novel elastic textiles with the additional possibility of integrating sensors that meet the requirements of biocompatibility. The new technology will bring together the expertise of textile companies and medical device manufacturers and increase the competitiveness of both sectors through a common network. The main challenge in the project is to translate the requirements of medical device manufacturers with new biocompatible starting materials into suitable textile structure and processing processes.
The project is funded by the FFG under the COIN - Program "Netzwerke"

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Implementation of biopolymeric gels for the temporary occlusion of vessels in medicine

The project consists of synthesizing and characterizing a novel non-toxic biopolymer hydrogel, that gels in vivo, exhibits long-term stability, and which can be degraded intentionally. Several medical uses for such a hydrogel may be imagined. The gel will be investigated in mechanical and rheological characteristics as interaction with physiological fluids. Specific interest will be focused on stability, degradation mechanisms and injectability. The project, which will run from 2017-2020, is funded by the office of the Vice Rector for Research of the University of Innsbruck with a doctoral stipend under the “Nachwuchsförderung der Universität Innsbruck - 2017" program.

Embroidered electrodes for high-performance Li-ion batteries (3D-LiB)

Rechargeable lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries are promising candidates to store efficiently electrical energy for a wide range of applications. In this project, an improvement on the volumetric energy densities of embroidered LiFePO4 cathodes will be investigated by optimizing the slurry recipe, the coating process and layout of the embroidered current collectors. The electrochemical performance of the different cathodes will be evaluated and a first exploration for the utilization of the embroidered current collectors in other electrode materials (e.g. graphite anodes) will be performed. The project is funded by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Research of the University of Innsbruck, under the program "Nachwuchsfördermittel aus der Nachwuchsförderung der LFU - 2017".

K-Project: Textile Competence Center Vorarlberg (TCCV), Start: 04.2017 - 03.2021

The overall vision of the TCCV is to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of smart textiles, textile-based composites, and high-performance textile materials, and thereby to become one of Europe’s flagship R&D centers in the respective fields. Research endeavours will bundle the existing competencies of the textile manufacturers together with those of the scientific community, especially the Research Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics. With this, a critical mass of expertise and dedicated research resources will be established at a physical research center in the region of Vorarlberg. Driven by global trends in mobility, communications, and health and safety, the research and development activities will be directed towards the areas of textile reinforced composites; integration of sensors, adaptive materials and electrical devices in the textile structures; and high-performance textiles.

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New-Pro-Beton: Netzwerk additive Herstellungsprozesse für Betonbauteile, 01.2017 - 12.2108

Durch die Integration von textilen Bewehrungsmaterialien in einen Betondruckprozess könnte ein entscheidender und maßgebender Schritt zur industriellen Vorfertigung von Betonbauteilen gelingen, um auch hier eine Zugkraftübertragung eines 3D-gefertigten Bauteils zu ermöglichen. Projektziel ist die Integration der direkten Verarbeitung von Endlosfasern in den Druckprozess, der unmittelbare Einsatz von Wickeltechniken oder formangepassten textilen Bewehrungsstrukturen in den Prozess der Formbildung. Diese Anforderungen stellen eine große Herausforderung an die Prozess- und Materialentwicklung von Beton und Bewehrung dar, sind jedoch die entscheidende Voraussetzung für die erfolgreiche Realisierung einer ökonomischen Herstellung leistungsfähigerer komplexer Bauteile aus bewehrtem Beton. Die im Projekt gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden die Grundlagen für marktfähige Anwendungen liefern.

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BMVIT endowed chair "Advanced Manufacturing" (01.04.2016 – 31.03.2021)

The BMVIT endowed chair "Advanced Manufacturing" was established to broaden the research competencies of the institute in both basic and applied research. Apart from the existing, very strong research areas in textile chemistry and technology, additional research fields in technical textiles, textile composites, and polymer materials are being established and developed at the institute. Based on strong funding from BMVIT, University of Innsbruck, the Government of Vorarlberg, EFRE, and associated industrial partners, one of the major focuses is expansion of the research competencies and infrastructure for a deeper cooperation between academia and industry. The strong involvement of the BMVIT endowed chair in teaching at the Masters degree programme “Material and Nano Sciences” at the University of Innsbruck, and on developing new research topics for PhD research, is contributing to increase human capital by producing highly qualified young scientists for the Austrian industry. Furthermore, the BMVIT endowed chair is also acting to integrate the institute’ research activities into Austrian as well as international research networks and thus, to strengthen the position of Austria as a location for strong and innovative research.

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Erforschung textiler Emulsionsfilterkonzepte für verbesserte Wasserabscheidung in Krafftstofffiltern über die Lebensdauer (KRATOS)

In diesem Projekt werden die Ursachen des Leistungsverlustes von Wasserabscheidesystemen in der Dieselfiltration untersucht. Durch innovative Material- und Produktkonzeptveränderung, basierend auf den zu erwartenden Erkenntnissen zur Oberflächenbenetzung von Fasern und Faserbündeln, Dieselkomponentenadsorption und der Emulsionsstabilität, soll die Wasserabscheideleistung dieser Dieselfiltrationssysteme erhöht and über Lebensdauer konstant gehalten werden können. Um dieses Ziel zu erriechen müssen gegenwärtige industrielle und wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse kombiniert, Ursachen erforscht, neue Lösungsstrategien entwickelt und in einem innovativen Konzept umgesetzt werden. Das Projekt ist durch das FFG Basisprogramm gefördert.

Texible GmbH

Das Start-up Texible wurde 2016 als Ausgründung der Universität Innsbruck von Textilforschern und Textilunternehmern gegründet. Die Gründer sind davon überzeugt, dass die Textilien der Zukunft weit mehr Funktionen als Witterungsschutz und Design haben werden. Die Potentiale der textilen Wertschöpfungskette und ihrer Herstellungstechnologien sind riesig, stehen jedoch noch ganz am Anfang. Unsere Aufgabe ist der Technologietransfer von Forschungsergebnissen hin zu technischen Textilien mit spezifischen Anforderungen.

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Competence Center: Sports Textiles

The objective of this project is to develop an integrative interdisciplinary research programme tailored for innovation and development in the field of sportswear, sports accessories and sports equipment. The consortium comprises commercial enterprises specialising in individual steps of the manufacturing chain and/or individual areas of application, research institutes specialising in the fields of sports medicine and physiology, biomechanics, microbiology, and materials/textiles research, and professional athletes. The concentrated and coherent multidisciplinary research programme involving the active participation of institutions from academia and industry sectors will generate benefits by:

  • initiating the production of high added-value products based on innovative materials thereby strengthening the competitiveness of participating enterprises,
  • transferring of new technologies to commercial partners helping them attain market leadership in high performance knowledge-based products, and
  • improving the ability of European manufacturers to react to changing markets and to compete against low-cost production from other parts of the world.

Netzwerk waschbare Sensortextilien (NewS)

The NewS project focuses on research into new technologies to produce composite textiles which function as washable sensors. New embroidery techniques will also be used to integrate sensor functions in bedding textiles. In a care home for the elderly, washable sensor-textiles will be tested for usability and lifetime expectancy. The interdisciplinary tasks require the cooperation of all relevant companies in the production, application and maintenance of the product.

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TEXon - Development of Uni-directional, Curved, Textile Reinforced Concrete Shells using 3D Textile Structures

The use of textile materials for concrete reinforcement allows for the production of lightweight concrete elements. Technical embroidery techniques available permit the production of flexible, 3D reinforcement structures manufactured from technical fibres including AR-glass and carbon fibres; such elements will allow the reinforcement of curved concrete elements.

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Research Studio Smart Technical Embroideries

The project, started in 2011, deals with the innovation potential of technical embroidery. Together with Smart Embroideries Austria, an association of 16 embroidery companies, the team develops new technologies, products and applications for embroidered structures in the technical field.

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Textiles for Ageing Society

The aim of the EU-funded project is to bring together the elderly, social and medical care institutions, research institutions, technology transfer institutions and manufacturers to identify: specific requirements of the elderly and care institutions; latest developments in materials science and technology that will help meet these requirements; and strategies to incorporate developments in the manufacturing chain. The goal is to improve or innovate products and/or processes to meet the specific clothing and textile needs of a growing sector of the European population.

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K Project: Sports Textiles

A joint research activity, coordinated by the Centre of Technology of Ski and Alpine Sports, to investigate and develop new concepts for sports textiles. Other partners are the University of Innsbruck Department of Sport Science, the Medical University of Innsbruck Division of Molecular Biology, and 10 textile and fibre processing companies.

The research activities focus on different selected aspects:

  1. performance improvement in competitive sports by cooling, compression, air resistance.
  2. optimisation of benefit to risk ratio in recreational sports: cooling and heat storage, textile support for muscles and/or joints, rain-proof and breathable fabrics for different conditions.

The scientific work includes multidisciplinary analysis and optimisation of sports textiles from the textile fibre to the complete garment with methods of textile physics and chemistry, biomechanics, microbiology and sports physiology.

European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE)

The EU-funded network connects 16 academic and research institutions and a large number of companies focusing on polysaccharide and polysaccharide-related business. The aims are to organize education in polysaccharide science, to perform basic and applied research for the development of new products based on or containing polysaccharides, and to offer a networking platform enabling close interaction with industry.

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Shaping and Transformation in the Engineering of Polysaccharides

The four-year Marie Curie Initial Training Network, from 2008-2012, aimed at gaining fundamental understanding of non-covalent interactions in polysaccharide structures in order to developing ways and means of overcoming their influence on polysaccharide conversion.

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Christian-Doppler Laboratory for "Textile and Fibre Chemistry in Cellulosics”

The research in the project, which ran from 2002-2008, focused on the behaviour and properties of cellulose fibres through the full textile pipeline. Besides physical and chemical properties, attention was also paid to microbiological properties and medical applications. The investigations concentrated on:

  1. synthesis of chemically modified man-made cellulosic fibres and textiles
  2. identification of important structural parameters of fibres and observation of these parameters during textile processing and consumer use
  3. formation of a scientific knowledge base about the wear and performance properties of fibres including medical applications
  4. study of microbial properties of fibres and textiles

Electrochemistry in textile processes

Due to the different conditions applied in dyehouses the scientific investigation and technical development concentrates at this time in the following fields of application:

  • indirect reduction for dyeing with vat dyes
  • indirect reduction for exhaust dyeing with sulfur dyes and sulfur vat dyes
  • direct reduction of sulfur dyes for continuous dyeing
  • direct electrochemical reduction of reactive dyes for decolorization of waste water
  • in-situ production of bleach agents for denim wash-down

In an industrial cooperation with DyStar, Frankfurt Germany the TET (Technology Team Electrochemistry Textile) was formed. This undertakes research and development activites with numerous industrial partners, e.g. Eilenburger Umwelttechnik, Germany; Benninger AG, Switzerland; Getzner Textil, Austra; Riedl und Tietz Textil, Germany; Orta Anadolu, Turkey; Lilienweiß Textil, Germany; Thüringisches Institut für Textil- und Kunst-Forschung, Univ. Wuppertal, Germany. This know-how pool intends to scale-up the technology and support the introduction into in textile dye-houses. See Eureka Project E!2625 ECDVAT.

Formaldehyde-free crosslinking systems

To impart durable press properties to cotton fabrics it is necessary to crosslink the cellulose chains by means of a crosslinking agent. Due to the fact that formaldehyde is regarded to be carcinogenic, textile finishers are trying to replace formaldehyde-emitting crosslinking agents. Therefore, investigations are focused on the development of formaldehyde-free finishing systems which fulfill the desired technical requirements. Furthermore, analytical methods are applied to study the reaction of the crosslinking agent with the cellulosic material.

Natural dyes for textile dyeing

The introduction of natural dyes for textile dyeing operations into technical dyeing processes is studied. The study combines considerations of agricultural demands and productivity, with requirements defined frome the application of natural dyes in full scale textile dyeing processes. The latest project was in cooperation with the Institute for Applied Ecology, Vienna, entitled Colors of Nature in the framework of the program Fabrik der Zukunft.

Besides these main fields of research activities several other topics are worked on with industrial partners:

  • Recycling of wasted caustic soda from the mercerizing process:
    A process for the removal of dispersed impurities from reboiled mercerizing liquors by means of flotation was developed up to technical scale. The process was patented and the technical equipment is now built in license by a Swiss manufacturer of evaporation plants.
  • Determination of heavy metals in textile effluents:
    In cooperation with ten Vorarlberger dyehouses the content of heavy metals in their effluent was determined. This investigation yielded basic information on possibilities for a minimization of the pollution by the dyehouses.
  • Examination of main parameters of the mercerizing process:
    In cooperation with a textile manufacturer the main parameters for an optimized mercerization step for knitted goods were examined. By the measurement of the contraction of the cotton fibre by swelling in the caustic soda valuable information on critical steps in the rinsing procedure could be received.
  • Development of liquid detergents and optimization of the detergent products for special applications.
  • Laboratory scale indigo dyeing with new cellulosic fibres (man-made fibres).
  • Substitution of chlorinated hydrocarbons in wool shrinking processes by aqueous systems.
  • Recycling of biological degradable sizes by ultrafiltration.
  • Development of textile products with new properties/new look for textile manufacturers.
  • Synthesis and characterisation of azoic dyes.
  • Formation of theoretical models for optimisation of technical processes.
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