FH Bielefeld
University of
Applied Sciences

Supported projects in the working group Textile Technologies

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  • Microorganisms for biological decontamination (mikroBioDek) - BMBF 2019-2020
    This project is preparing an EU application to clean up the environment using micro-organisms, especially to treat wastewater from the textile industry, which will be decontaminated using a combination of mechanical and biological techniques.

  • Development of an intelligent curtain fan sensor system to optimize the thermal comfort of cattle (iCurs) - Agricultural Pension Bank 2019-2022
    The goal is the development of an intelligent curtain fan sensor system for dairy farming, which is controlled by a new control panel and regulation unit including a barn sensor network. In this way, the individual functional areas of the animals as well as the microclimate zones within the barn environment can be specifically optimised. In addition, the signalling and synchronisation of animal behaviour can be supported by a new lighting technology integrated into the curtain. The use of a cost-effective sensor technology also creates incentives for monitoring the harmful gases even beyond the legal requirements. In addition, a new type of location system will enable the localisation of the animals and the recording of their movement behaviour and will take into account the detection of the farmer as a further control variable for the stable climate, thus providing additional added value in terms of securing individual workplaces. In order to generate a high degree of user acceptance and user-friendliness, the sensor system is to be wireless and low maintenance via a radio standard. The farmer should be given the simple and comprehensible possibility of parameterisation and monitoring of the system via mobile app.

  • Stabilised metal-carbon composites (MeCC) - WIPANO 2019-2021
    The aim of the project is the further development of stabilized metal-carbon composites (patent pending). These have been produced in several experiments so far. In principle, it has been shown that the process according to the invention works. A more intensive investigation of the influence of the manufacturing parameters on the morphology and mechanical properties of the composites is to be carried out within the framework of the applied project. In particular, the expected improvement of the mechanical properties can be used, for example, in mechanical engineering to produce high-strength alternatives for particularly stressed components and should be demonstrated within the framework of the applied project.

  • Mushroom mycelium-nanovlies composites as a new filter material (MyNaCo) - HiF 2019-2020
    Nanofibre nonwovens are used for a wide variety of purposes, including very fine reusable filters for medical or biotechnological purposes, but also in the food or textile industries. However, the advantage of the fine pores is combined with the disadvantage that nanofibres offer an extremely high resistance to filterable liquids, which almost completely prevents the flow through such a filter. This can only be avoided if it is very thin and has correspondingly low mechanical strength. The situation is even more difficult if carbonized nano-nonwovens are used, which are very brittle due to their modified chemical structure. One possible solution is to produce a composite of a polyacrylonitrile nanofiber fleece - possibly carbonized - and a fungal mycelium grown on it. In many cases, fungal mycelium consists partly of chitin, a very solid material. It can grow in a defined form and then be killed to be hardened in this form. In this way, it can form a stable framework for an embedded nanofleece. Previous experiments have shown that oyster fungus mycelium grows well on PAN nanofibre fleeces and, due to the fineness of the mycelium fibres, also bonds mechanically with the fleeces. At the same time, the fungal mycelium, which has larger pores than the nanofleece, forms a mechanical pre-filter and thus protects the nanofleece not only from mechanical damage, but also from the formation of a filter cake, which would further increase the water resistance.

  • Extension of the atomic force microscope by a variable magnetic field - Stiftung Ingenieurausbildung (Foundation for Engineering Education) 2019
    An atomic force microscope (AFM), for example, can be used to take high-resolution images of a wide variety of surfaces, from the atoms of a silicon wafer to cells and other biological samples that can be examined in nutrient liquids (and thus living). A major challenge is the investigation of magnetic samples, for which a variable external magnetic field is required in addition to special cantilevers. Thus, for example, nanostructured magnetic samples or magnetic nano-fleeces can be investigated. In this project, an electromagnet with specially designed pole shoes is therefore attached to the existing AFM in order to be able to observe the change in magnetization of a sample as a function of the external magnetic field.

  • Digital determination of therapy success in the field of compression therapy (Therafolg) - BMBF 2018-2021
    Lymphatic and venous diseases are among the most widespread diseases. However, most of these diseases are not treated, and if they are, they are often ineffective. This is primarily due to insufficient determination of the success of the therapy. The aim of this project is therefore to develop an expert system that uses textile bio-impedance sensor technology to measure the success of compression therapies and thus make it visible and usable for patients, doctors and manufacturers of medical aids. In this way, the success of treatment and the acceptance of compression therapy are increased. Thus, in the future more patients in need of treatment will experience an appropriate therapy.

  • Vertical Farming - BMWi 2018-2020
    The aim of vertical farming is to produce year-round plant or animal agricultural products in multi-storey buildings, so-called farm scrapers, within conurbations. This shortens transport distances, saves or generates energy and saves on farmland. The aim of the project is to develop textile substrates based on coated knitted fabrics and nano-nonwovens for the cultivation of various crops in confined spaces, which improve nutrient uptake and plant growth and thus enable optimum use of space. From algae and mosses to fruit and vegetable plants, the aim is to find requirement-specific solutions for the respective crop species. Particular attention is paid to the combination of synthetic polymers with biopolymers such as polysaccharides and proteins, which enables the efficient growth of biomass on textile substrates.

  • Stabilization and carbonization of biopolymer-modified polyacrylonitrile nanofiber webs (bioPAN-SC) - HiF 2018-2019
    Electrospinning is a technology by the aid of which nanofibres can be produced from various polymers and deposited in the form of randomly arranged non-wovens. Fiber diameter and morphology of the fleece depend not only on the material but also on the spinning and solution parameters. Especially the "Green Electrospinning" without harmful solvents is interesting here. In addition to water-soluble polymers, polyacrylonitrile (PAN) can also be spun in this way, which is soluble in DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), a solvent that is only slightly toxic. In the project applied for, previous experience with PAN and various biopolymers is supposed to be combined. The basic idea is to spin PAN/biopolymer blends and to modify the morphology of the PAN fibres by subsequent washing or burning out of the water-soluble components. Subsequently, the PAN nonwovens should be stabilized by slow heating and finally carbonized by further heating. The carbon nanofibers obtained in this way can be used, for example, to reinforce 3D printing polymers, but also as electrode material in solar cells or batteries or in other applications where high conductivities are required with low material input.

  • Development of the 3D printer-based tredico technology for printing bio-based composites as material - Start-up university spin-offs 2018-2019
    Demographic change is leading to an increasing demand for orthoses and medical aids. The business idea of tredico is to produce individually adaptable orthoses by using a multifunctional 3D printer. The tredico technology involves the production of a fungus mycelium-supported composite that can be modelled into a sandwich structure with reinforcing fibres and optionally dilatant fluid. This sandwich structure is lighter, more stable, more flexible, more weatherproof, more breathable and cheaper than synthetic materials available on the market so far. Due to the fungus mycelium-stabilized filament, the material is also 100% biodegradable.

  • Adaptive Computing with Electrospun Nanofiber Networks (in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Tomasz Blachowicz, Silesian University of Technology) – VolkswagenStiftung 2018-2019
    Can novel physical computer architecture and functionalities be used to enhance the calculation speed of advanced mathematical problems? Similar to quantum computers which are expected to solve a defined class of mathematical problems on very short time-scales, we search for a novel adaptive philosophy of computation technology to calculate different problems similar to the human brain and thus in a much more flexible and efficient way than common technology. Thus, artificial nanofiber networks with new electronic, magnetic, mechanical and other properties will be prepared by electrospinning and tested in experiment and intense simulation with respect to their abilities to work as bio-inspired cognitive computing units.

  • Development of a technology for textile surfaces for generating electricity by organic photovoltaics (SolTex) - DBU 2017-2019
    Dye solar cells now represent an interesting alternative to silicon-based solar cells. Even though their efficiencies, apart from pure laboratory results, are still significantly lower than those of conventional solar cells. However, they can be produced without clean room conditions and from relatively inexpensive, non-toxic materials. This suggests the use of dye solar cells on textile surfaces, such as in textile architecture, i.e. textile roof structures or tents. Despite their low efficiency, such large surfaces allow sufficient energy to be generated to charge a mobile phone or a lamp, for example. These aspects are of particular interest for life rafts, tents and other mobile roof constructions, which are used both outdoors and after natural disasters in remote regions or comparable situations where no other power supply is available. In the planned project, textile-based dye solar cells are therefore to be developed for self-sufficient power supply.

  • Crocheting machine - WIPANO 2017-2018
    The aim of the applied project is the further development of a patent pending crocheting machine and the development of an automated functional model, which on the one hand shows the basic practicability of the patent pending machine crocheting process and on the other hand represents the first step of a machine development with industrial support up to marketability.

  • Nanofiber fleeces as substrates for artificial photoreceptors for the development of retinal implants (NanoFoRe²) - HiF 2017-2018
    Using the electrospinning process, nanofiber nonwovens can be produced from various polymers and with different fiber diameters. While the basic technology has been known for a long time, nowadays the mechanical engineering side is being further developed and new polymers and their stabilization after the spinning process are being researched.
    Based on the previous experience of the "Textile Technologies" working group in green electrospinning with different (bio-)polymers, the proposed project will investigate biocompatible materials that are suitable as substrates for artificial photoreceptors for the development of retinal implants. The challenge is to develop nanofibre nonwovens that are waterproof on the one hand, but also resist chloroform (which is used in previous research on artificial photoreceptors on glass substrates and is unlikely to be replaced immediately) and, last but not least, offer an optimised basis for the integration or adhesion of the artificial photoreceptors. If it is possible to meet these requirements, the fine, light, stable nanofiber nonwovens with physical and chemical properties that can be adjusted over a wide range represent an ideal substrate for later implantation in the eye.

  • Biopolymer textiles with integrated or adherent microalgae for the production of biomass and natural substances in vertical farming (BioTex) - Starke Forschung Chemie.NRW 2017-2018
    The project aims to develop composite systems of biopolymers and biological components (e.g. microalgae, mosses and lichens, but also larger plant organisms) that pursue the idea of "vertical farming" or the utilization of fallow land. Due to the increasing need of a growing world population for food and energy, it is important to promote the idea of "vertical farming".
    In the planned joint project, various textile structures are to be used for this purpose, including electrospun biopolymer nanofiber fleeces with a large inner surface, but also conventionally spun biopolymer monofilaments. The frequently water-soluble structures are to be cross-linked to a certain degree so that they become waterproof permanently or for a defined time. Plants or their spores are directly spun together with the textiles and are also attached to the textiles.

  • AFM to investigate functional layers in dye solar cells, biological and electronic materials - FH Basis 2016
    An AFM is used for high-resolution imaging of surfaces with up to atomic accuracy. It measures the forces between a cantilever with an extremely fine tip (magnitude 10 nm diameter or less) and the surface under investigation. Thus, it can not only display the topography, but also, for example, magnetic domains, surface energies, elastic properties of the surface, and more. With the applied AFM, biological samples will be investigated as well as the different functional layers in the textile-based dye solar cells currently being developed and various other samples.

  • 3D Printing - DFG Representation Module, 2016-2017
    Today, 3D printing is evolving from its original application in rapid prototyping to the additive production of real parts. However, the mechanical properties of 3D-printed objects are often in need of improvement compared to injection-molded elements. This is especially the case with low-cost Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers, which allow smaller companies to take advantage of 3D printing without major investment. To counteract this problem, 3D printing can be combined with integrated textiles, for example in the form of fibres, yarns or fabrics, similarly fibre-reinforced composites, or even with metallic objects (wires, foils). The possibilities and effects of such material combinations are investigated within the project.

  • Electro-spinning nanofibers for textile dye solar cells and other functional surfaces - FH Basis 2015
    In the electro-spinning process, an electrical potential is used to draw very fine fibres (typical diameters between 100 nm and a few micrometres) from a solution or a molten precursor and deposit them in the form of a fleece on a counter-electrode without the need of high temperatures or chemical processes. Electro-spinning is therefore also suitable for large, complex molecules and is therefore ideal for the development of new materials. This project led to the acquisition of an electrospinning plant "NanospiderTM NS Lab" from the company Elmarco, which is now used in particular for spinning biopolymers from water-based solutions.

  • Development of a textile dye solar cell - qualification program of the FH Bielefeld, 2016-2018
    The dye solar cell was patented by Michael Grätzel in 1992 and has since then become known as the Grätzel cell. For the absorption of light, it does not use semiconductor material, like conventional solar cells, but organic dyes (chlorophyll etc.). Unlike silicon-based solar cells, Grätzel cells can also be integrated into textiles. The project aims to develop and optimize such textile-based dye solar cells.