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Nanostructured photocatalytic textiles

The project goal is the creation of innovative self-cleaning, self-sterilizing and antibacterial textiles by coating textiles with new nanostructured photocatalytic compounds with extended absorption in visible range.

Each year, the industry and consumers account for great economic losses throughout the world due to indoor/outdoor air pollution and its side-effects on health, transmission of dangerous germs and viruses, deterioration of the textiles, maintenance and replacement of dirty materials. Pollutants, dust, dirt, and microorganisms cause aesthetic, structural damage, reduction of fibre strength, and formation of highly adherent biofilms. Bacteria can survive on various fibers from days to months, and even after washing, gram-positive organisms’ burden is ~10 – 100 CFU/cm2. The economic loss due to Health Care Acquired Infections is estimated to €17.1 billion per year across Europe. To eliminate dirt and inactivate microorganisms, the material must be washed daily, meaning a high consumption of energy, water, detergents and high environmental burden. Also, incineration process produce huge amount of carbon dioxide and hazardous substances such as dioxin. There is an increasing demand for products or technologies to breakdown the pollutants which presents a high risk to human health and also has a detrimental effect on ecosystems. The present project proposes to develop competitive photocatalytic textile materials beneficial for human health and environment due to their ability to decompose pollutants, destroy microorganisms, prevent epidemics caused by various pathogens, and maintain a clean environment, with reduced risk of contamination. The sustainable, eco-friendly products and technologies will avoid economic loses, contributing to future development of European and global industry. To accomplish the proposed photocatalytic textile materials, scientific (deep understanding of photocatalysis), technological (improvement of the performances), economic (cost performances against existing technology for same purpose) and social (maintaining reliability and safety that are necessary for use and acceptance by consumers) issues will be investigated and integrated into the SMEs knowledge and production processes. More specific, the proposed activities to achieve the targeted goal are: 1. Design, synthesis and characterization of new photocatalytic compounds based on multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)/TiO2 nanoparticles and nanopowders (with different appropriate doping elements, including also multiple doping), active in the range of UV-vis radiation; 2. Development of new technological processes (ultrasonic spray deposition technique) to coat the textile materials with transparent, thin nanostructured photocatalytic films; 4. Analysis of new textile structures and assessment of their performances: photocatalytic, self-cleaning and auto-sterilizing efficiency, antibacterial/antifungal activity, biocompatibility and genuine textile properties modifications; 5. Transposing the optimized technologies at pilot/industrial scale; 6. Garment manufacturing; 7. Life cycle assessment of new products. Two major innovations for the future of textile and chemical industries are brought by this project: synthesis of totally new hybrid photocatalytic compounds (multiple doped TiO2 and multiwall carbon nanotubes/TiO2) with extended absorption in visible range and deposition of photocatalysts on textiles by disruptive technology and super low cost technique (ultrasonic spray deposition). To achieve these objectives, a multidisciplinary Consortium including 4 SMEs, 1 industrial large company and 2 research institutes from four different EUREKA countries covering a large geographic area, representing the whole value chain has been set up, from photocatalytic compounds synthesis, textile manufacturing and finishing companies in charge of optimizing the deposition of the photocatalysts developed in project, to garment confection and design of attractive and fashionable clothes. Working together, the partners could share and improve their knowledge, reduce duplication of research efforts and time to market, share the risks and extend the technological performance. The newly developed smart textiles will offer significant benefits for the environmental and human health by breaking down air pollutants and the artificial contaminants (foods, drinks, cosmetics) and cleaning themselves, stopping bacterial and fungal growth or destroying the existing ones and improving indoor air quality. Other important benefits are the environment pollution reduction due their photocatalytic effects, reduced energy, water and detergent use during the use phase, reduce impacts associated with landfilling, incineration and resource inefficiency associated with the end-of-life phase, lower carbon footprint in manufacture than conventional textiles, large area of applicability, and low cost. A consortium Agreement will be signed by all partners before starting the project, settling all obligations and rights of each partner as well as covering IPR on the project results implementation and exploitation.
Acronym: 
FOTOCAT
Project ID: 
8 080
Start date: 
03-06-2013
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
2 160 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Textiles Technology
Market Area: 
Clothing, shoes and accessories (including jewellery)

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.