Multifunctional Textiles

electrically conductive, self-adhesive, multifunctional

form 228
September/October 2009


Birkhäuser (Basel)

At the Techtextil 2009 in Frankfurt, the European textile industry set out once again to reinvent itself by means of multifunctional textiles. Today’s products are electrically conductive, thermoformable, self-adhesive and can even store energy.

Schoeller Technologies actually offered several innovations at once. For example its 3xdry ensures even normal sheets are breathing material. Water- and dirt-repellent, they do not permit moisture to permeate them from the outside. Bodily fluids enter the fabric, spread over a large area and then evaporate swiftly. Another Schoeller special development: the Coldblack material. It affords double the protection against the sun and is ideal for seating covers for cars or garden furniture.

Last fall, Creation Baumann opened up an entirely new market – with self-adhesive textiles for sightscreening and dazzle protection. And Sattler, a company based in Graz, Austria, and renowned for truck tarps and textile solutions for architecture, presented a rival product at the trade fair. It not only adheres better on almost all smooth surfaces, but can even be printed using the customary techniques – making it interesting above all for the ad industry and for temporary presentations.

For medical applications, silver fibers have long since been woven into bandaging in order to help inhibit infection in the wound and thus speed up healing. Smartfiber AG is now making use of insights from traditional Chinese medicine and using algae with skin-protective and fungicidal properties in its SeaCell cellulose fiber. The algae contain not only minerals, trace elements, carbohydrates and fats but also various vitamins that are released when the textile is worn and comes into contact with the skin’s natural moisture. The algae’s properties stimulate cell renewal, activate circulation, and tend to inhibit the spread of bacteria.

The Avantex Prize for Innovation went to a Fraunhofer IZM development destined for the fashion world: Klight, an interactive dress decorated with LEDs and elastic circuitry. The light patterns integrated into the fabric respond to body movement and interact with the surroundings. The product shows once again just how much potential smart textiles have to offer designers.

image source: Creation Baumann