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Improvement in the flame retardant properties of cotton and wool blends

This project would deal with knitted fabrics, produced from cotton or wool blended with fr fibres in various ratio. The target is the production of eco-innovative fr knitwear (garments) that can be competitive on the eu and overseas markets.

Flame resistant (FR) fabrics for industrial and military uses represent one of a few more profitable niche markets in the global textile complex. There is a large area of protective textiles, where flame-retardance has a very high impact. This area comprises clothing and other textile-based systems whose main function is to protect users from the hazards and dangers within the conditions in which they operate. The size of the personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE) market in the EU was estimated at 9.5-10 billion Euros in 2007. Incorporating flame retardance in combustible materials is a common procedure in preventive fire safety measures and is applied to reduce the risks from fires. It is thus of primary importance for public safety to find ways to render the materials less flammable and, of course, in the most economically and environmentally-friendly manner. The approach of this project would be the improvement of important knitwear characteristics regarding flame-retardancy (FR) using two different modifications. The first one would be performed under industrial conditions during the knitting process, while the second would be performed either at laboratory scale or directly in industrial surroundings. The first SME partner, BETI PREJA D.O.O. would participate in the project's activities regarding structural and flame retardant modifications. This approach within the activity of FR modifications is dedicated to the development of alternative agents. Additional activities of the SME partner BETI PREJA D.O.O. would be dedicated to the development of new blends consisting of cellulose/modacryl and wool/modacryl fibres. The first ones would be targeted to for the summer collections of knitwear products while the second ones would be planned for the winter collection. Flame-resistant modacrylic fibre is a copolymer of acrylonitrile monomer and vinyl or vinylidene chloride. Vinylidene chloride contains larger LOI than vinyl chloride. Modacrylic fibres have similar features regarding soft and natural feel, water-absorbance, and comfort, as other natural fibres. These feel like wool and have the features of high flame-resistance, such as the resistance to acids and chemical agents. Cotton blends may impart flame-retardant properties when blended with modacryl fibres which have high LOI value (29-30). Such a blend has the additional advantage of multi-functionality. The second SME partner is GALEB D.D. whose manufacturing programme is classified as being amongst the bigger Croatian producers of knitwear products. Their production is mostly based on cellulose fibres (primarily cotton and viscose) and for these products they fulfil the strict criterion of the Oeko-tex standard. Their strategic goals are to enlarge their assortment from the conventional to the functional or multifunctional textiles. Their contribution to the project would be in performing modifications of knitwear structures of wool textiles in order to obtain additional flame-retardant knitted fabrics. The modifications would be done using yarns resistant to high temperatures alone or in blending with untreated yarns which have naturally high LOI values, so there is no need to treat them additionally. Further eco-innovative knitted fabrics, would be developed without the use of chemical additives, by blending wool with viscose yarns in various ratios. The functionalities of these blends would be ensured by the good flame-retardancy of the untreated wool fibres in the blend with the previously FR treated viscose. The combination of these two types of fibres would offer a high level of flame-retardancy, which would be extremely durable. Selecting the more advantageous FR structures would depend on the results of the physicochemical properties of the tested functional knitted fabrics. The blends exhibiting the best FR properties would be used for further manufacture, by applying a suitable design for those undergarments dedicated to different purposes, such as protective clothes: long protective underwear, turtlenecks, T-shirts, and caps. It is important to notice that the development of textiles flame-retardancy must not disturb the desirable physical characteristics of the fibres. The project consortium would, therefore, consist of five research/industrial partners from three different EUREKA countries, two from SLOVENIA, two from CROATIA and one from AUSTRIA. The main participant and leader of the project would be the UNIVERSITY OF MARIBOR, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (UM, FKKT). The second Slovenian partner would be BETI PREJA D.O.O. BETI's. Croatian partners would be the TEXTILE TECHNOLOGY FACULTY (RD) and Textile Company GALEB D.D. The Austrian partner is ANTON PAAR, GMBH (AP), Graz. They would be involved in evaluating the applicability of the streaming potential method.
Acronym: 
FLAMEBLEND
Project ID: 
5 785
Start date: 
01-07-2010
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
860 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Weaving related to Textiles Technology
Market Area: 
Textiles (synthetic and natural)

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