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Design and development of uv shielding materials

The present project proposes to create ecological, comfortable textiles which protect human body from harmful uv radiation by using natural fibers, natural dyes and nanoceramics.

According to WHO, 2 - 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year, the UV radiations contributing to 50%-90% of skin cancer and affecting especially the vulnerable category of children and adolescents. UV protective clothes represent one of the easiest and powerful solutions to avoid the negative effects of UV rays (cancer, DNA mutations, immune system damage, skin aging) and to improve the human health. Despite multiple attempts to create protective textiles against the destructive effects of UV rays (UV absorbers, dyeing, design of tightly fabric structures) the results are not successful due to the multiple limitations of the current approaches: the reduced range of colors able to provide a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF>50 +); the inability of textiles to ensure a comfort for hot and humid climate (generally, the UV protective textiles are heavy, have tight construction, low air/water permeability, low thermal transfer, high accumulation of static electricity); the reduced use of natural yarns (most of UV protective fabrics are made in synthetic yarns); the rapid discoloration of the dyes under solar light, ozone, temperature, humidity, pollutants; use of toxic compounds (e.g., UV absorbers) to increase the solar protection. The present project proposes the development of innovative, ecological and comfortable textiles protecting human body from harmful UV radiation by using natural fibers, natural dyes and nanoceramics and special sandwich structures. The proposed activities to achieve the targeted goal and avoid the main drawbacks of UV protective fabrics are: 1. selection and characterization of nanoceramics with particles size bellow 100nm and low degree of agglomeration; 2. formulation of nanoceramics as hybrid organic-inorganic composites homogeneously dispersed in suitable carriers to create an efficient and non-toxic UV shielding with high adherence to substrate; 3. production of special fabrics structures based on organic modifiers with affinity to textile substrates and high molar absorptivity in UV range, antimicrobial activity and use of natural yarns (cotton, linen) for clothing and synthetic for technical textiles; 4. simultaneous nanoceramic finishing/dyeing with selected natural dyes with high affinity and enhanced colorfastness to light, washing, perspiration, rubbing; 5. production of very thin (thickness = 0.10 -0.2 mm) sandwich structure modified by nano-metal layers with the interlayer space modified by suitably fine and poly-disperse fillers providing multiple random dispersion, refraction and partial absorption of UV-radiation and, as a result, unique UV protection. The proposed innovative textiles have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antistatic properties; 6. studies of toxicity, antimicrobial activity and environmental impact of modified textiles. The major innovations brought by project to develop UV shielding fabrics are: - nanoceramics formulation as aqueous adhesive emulsion by using suitable surfactants and binders: the low particles size, large surface area and high surface energy of the nanoparticles coupled with improved adherent polymeric binders and surfactants will overcome the main disadvantages of older UV treatments (low durability, modification of textile properties); - use of organic modifiers and nano-ceramics with UV-barrier and antimicrobial properties; - increased use of renewable resources (natural dyes from vegetable wastes) and safe natural minerals (ceramics) with high impact on human health and environment (avoidance of the substances excluded by eco-labels and the REACH SVHC candidate list); - a new approach to produce comfortable UV shielding fabrics with UPF > ++50 by engineering innovative sandwich structures, combining natural selected dyes and hybrid nanoceramic composites finishing of special structured textiles surface leading to high UV rays reflection. As the UV radiation carries 8% of thermal energy, reduction of this thermal energy causing increased thermal discomfort will contribute to increased wearers comfort. The project research work will be organized in 3 phases correspondent to the Technology Readiness Levels: assessment of process specification (TRL4); process optimization (TRL5) and process validation and assessment (TRL6). The Business, Exploitation and Dissemination activities will run during the whole project to orient the developments of the project to market expectations, while the management is dedicated to technical activities supervision, financial and administrative issues of the project. A multidisciplinary consortium with complementary expertise will establish a long-lasting collaboration enabling knowledge transfer in the area of hybrid inorganic-organic nanocomposites (KNUTD) and textile smart functionalization (INCDTP, IW, Janis, EKMA,Tanex, Majutex) opening new market niches for a wide range of applications.
Acronym: 
UV-SHIELD
Project ID: 
10 710
Start date: 
20-03-2017
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
930 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Finisher related to Textiles Technology
Market Area: 
Textiles (synthetic and natural)

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.