Student work and interesting textile news

Spinning plant on moon+

Transporting payloads into space to build manned stations on the moon or other planets is a major technological challenge, among other things also due to the problem of transporting large quantities of material. This challenge could be tackled by using raw materials that are already on the Moon or Mars. These are e.g. rocks that would be used for in situ production of mineral fibers from which they can be made e.g. fiber composites, thermal insulation, filters and hydroponic mineral wool for plant cultivation, among other things. Arañó Romero from the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen / Germany, showed in his paper how a miniaturized spinning mill for the production of mineral fibers can operate in micro gravity under conditions prevailing in space.


Environmentally friendy in-situ synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles for the development of protective textiles+

As a part of the ARRS project »Environmentally friendy in-situ synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles for the development of protective textiles« and the doctoral dissertation of young researcher Anja Verbič, we are developing innovative methods of direct synthesis of ZnO on textiles to achieve multifunctional protective properties with the use of natural active ingredients extracted from plants and plasma technology.

Author: Anja Verbič

Photo: Textile without ZnO has insufficient protection against UV radiation (left), while the sample decorated with ZnO particles produced directly on textile using plant extracts exhibits excellent protection against UV radiation (right).



In the presented research, 11 different laminates were compared, 8 of them were two-layered 3 of them were three-layered laminates. The laminates that were analyzed vary by the type of face-side textile material (knitted and nonwoven textiles), density and thickness of the foam, and specific properties (higher air permeability and low-emission foam). Depending on the different types of laminates, different laminating processes are used: hot-melt, flame, and powder laminations. The purpose of the presented research is to analyze the basic characteristics of the different laminate structures. Properties that are important for these types of laminates are the number of layers, areal density, thickness, resistance to rubbing, fire resistance, water vapor permeability, air permeability, breaking force and extension, thermal conductivity, and stratification. We found that the properties of laminates were not affected by the density and thickness of the foam. Nonwovens and other laminate components do not perform because they have lower abrasion resistance and lower tensile strength than knitted fabrics as the face layer. Knit laminates have good abrasion resistance, high air permeability, and water vapor permeability. Both are self-extinguishing to the first or second mark. Three-layered laminates have lower thermal conductivity and air permeability than two-layered laminates.

The results of the study were published in the Autex Research Journal.

RESPIRATORY MASKS: medical masks and respirators+

Respiratory masks are usually made of non-woven materials consisting of polypropylene (PP) or polyester fibers (PES). Their main function is to protect the wearer from inhaling aerosol (dust particles, gasses, micro-organisms, etc.) in the environment and, conversely, to protect the environment from micro-organisms present in the exhaled air of the wearer of the mask.
Filtering the aerosol through the respirator is a complex process. To achieve the highest filtration efficiency, the pores must be small enough and wind like a channel that changes direction frequently as the air flows through the mask. Only nonwovens consisting of microfibers with a diameter of 1.5-2.5 µm can meet these requirements (the diameter of conventional synthetic fibres is about 20 µm, for example). In addition, respiratory masks are made of three layers to ensure a sufficiently small pore size (e.g. the size of the bacterial cell is 0.5-5.0 µm, while the size of the virus varies 20-300 nm), which would effectively block the passage of aerosol through the porous structure of the non-woven fabrics. The filter layer is located in the middle between the upper and lower layers.
Based on the degree of filtration and thus the protective effect, respiratory masks can be divided into medical masks and respirators. Medical masks are loose-fitting and do not provide complete protection against aerosol. In contrast, respirators adapt completely to the face and thus ensure good protection for the wearer. Medical masks are also considered to be rapidly humidified due to the moisture in exhaled air and should therefore be changed every 2 to 4 hours, while respirators should be changed every 8 hours due to the more effective filtering layer.

Medical masks
According to the standard EN ISO 14683 Medical face masks – Requirements and test methods, medical masks are classified in the following categories: Type 1, Type 2 and Type 2R. Their characteristics are shown in Table 1. Type 1 medical masks provide the lowest level of protection. They block more than 95% of micro-organisms and are not water-repellent, i.e. they do not protect the wearer from the liquid drops in the environment (drops when coughing, sneezing). Type 1 medical masks should only be used for patients and others to reduce the risk of spreading infections, especially in epidemic or pandemic situations, and are not intended for use by healthcare professionals. Type 2 and 2R medical masks guarantee a filtration efficiency of over 98% bacteria. Type 2R medical masks are also water-repellent, providing protection against liquids. Both types are intended for use by medical personnel in clinics, operating theatres, etc. Irrespective of the type of medical mask, it must also comply with the microbiological standard, as the surface of the mask may not contain more than 30 colony units (CFU) per 1 g of textile material after manufacture.

Table 1: Properties of medical masks as ascribed by EN ISO 14683 standard.

Respirators are designed to protect the wearer from inhaling dust, airborne microorganisms and hazardous atmospheres (fumes, vapours, gases ). There are two main categories: the air-purifying respirators and air-supplied respirators. The latter are intended for specific use, so the first type of respirator is discussed below. Air-purifying respirators are divided into three categories according to standard EN 143 Respiratory protective devices – Particle filters – Requirements, testing, marking: FPP1, FPP2 and FPP3. Their filtration efficiency increases as the type number increases (Table 2). Accordingly, FPP1 respirators offer the worst protection, as they block at least 80% of the airborne particles at an air flow rate of 95 l/min. In contrast, FPP3 respirators offer the best protection at the same air flow rate, as they retain at least 99% of the particles. An important parameter is also the total internal leakage, i.e. the amount of air that does not pass through the filter and is therefore not filtered.
In epidemic or pandemic situations, FFP3 respirators are primarily required by healthcare professionals who are in repeated and prolonged contact with sick people or patients.

Table 2: Properties of different types respirators according to the EN 143 standard.

NTF, OTGO, Chair of Textile and Clothing Engineering

Medical protective masks+

Medical protective masks typically consist of three layers, with the outer and inner layer made of spunbonding nonwovens (fiber) and the filter layer between the outer and inner layer made of so-called meltblown fibers.
The outer and inner spunbonding fibers have good mechanical and physical properties and are water-repellent, but allow good water vapor permeability. A filter layer of ti. The meltblown fiber has good absorption capacity and also acts as a barrier. filter, as it prevents the passage of nanoparticles such as bacteria and viruses (particle diameter from 20 to 500 nm) into the oral or nasal cavity of a person wearing a medical protective mask. The layers that make up the medical protective mask are assembled mechanically using ultrasound coupling technology.
All layers are usually made of polypropylene fibers (PP fibers), which do not absorb water, have a low density and are therefore light.

Three layer medical mask and ultrasound coupling machine:


Spunbonded nonwovens for the outer and inner layers of the medical protective mask

In the spunbond process, single or multi-layer fibers are produced by laying, entangling and grinding a large number of continuous filaments (fibers) on a screen conveyor. Extruded spunbonded fibers have isotropic properties and a high breaking stress. Their surface mass ranges from 10 to 200 g.m-2 and thickness from 0.2 to 1.5 mm.

Nonwovens according to the spunbond process:


Melt – Blown nonwovens for the filter layer of the medical protective mask

Meltblown extruded fibers are formed by injection molding the polymer and blowing fine (micro) fibers of a few millimeters to several meters in length onto a screen surface. Meltblown extruded nonwovens have good filtration and absorption properties, but much worse mechanical and physical properties compared to spunbonded extruded fibers. Their surface mass ranges from 10 to 200 g.m-2.

Melt blown nonwovens:

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Department of Textiles, Graphic Arts and Design, Chair of Textile and Clothing Engineering


NASA has presented a new prototype of the astronaut clothing: two space suits from the Artemis mission, with which they could fly to the moon again. The clothes offer much more comfort in maneuverability and they can even allow performing squates and raising hands above the head.


Prepared by: Prof. dr. Andrej Demšar.

ECONYL® fibers recycled from waste fishing nets for ©PRADA+

Fashion company Prada from Milan collaborates with Slovenian textile filament manufacturer AquafilSLO d.o.o., Ljubljana. The ECONYL® fibre, recycled from waste fishing nets, sea plastics and waste textiles is used to design Prada Re-Nylon collection, thus introducing a new, sustainable approach to fashion design.

You can find more about the collaboration products in the video below.

Do you know the fourth state of matter?+

Did you know that besides liquid, solid and gas, there is another state of matter? Plasma is the fourth state of matter which was first described in 1928 by I. Langmuir. In nature, lightning is a commonplace generator of plasma. It can also be artificially generated by heating a neutral gas or subjecting it to a strong electromagnetic field, to a point where an ionized gaseous substance becomes electrically conductive.

The textile industry has a large environmental footprint due to water and energy consumption and additional waste treatments. For that reason, plasma treatment has gained a lot of attention, since it can be used for achieving surface cleaning, activating and etching. This way, hydrophilic, hydrophobic, oleophobic textiles can be produced. Besides enhancing the dyeability of fabrics, better adhesion of antimicrobial, antifungal, UV protective or antistatic treatments can be achieved. With plasma treatment, the use of toxic chemicals and large quantities of water in the textile industry can be reduced.

Prepared by: Anja Verbič, young researcher.

GUNRID clening curtains+

In collaboration with European and Asian universities, IKEA company has designed curtains that clean the air in the room. The surface of the textile curtains is treated with a photocatalyst which, under the influence of natural or artificial light, degrades air pollutants, such as. formaldehyde.

Video (source: IKEA)
Text and photos source.


On January 3, 2019, China’s Chang’e-4 robotic spacecraft landed on the far side of the moon. The spacecraft brought with it instruments to check the geological structure of the moon and to carry out biological experiments. As part of the biological experiments, the vessel contains: cotton seeds, potato seeds, rape seeds, Arabidopsis thaliana, yeast and fruit fly eggs to form a simple mini biosphere All of the “travellers” were kept in Earth-like conditions inside the biosphere, the only difference was lunar micro-gravity and radiation. The footage sent by the probe to the ground shows that the cotton seed has sprouted, while the other seeds do not show any changes. It is the first seed of a plant from the earth to sprout on the moon.

Prepared by: Prof. dr. Andrej Demšar.

Photo sources: here and here.


A team of researchers from the USA and Slovenia discovered a new protein in the strongest spider’s silk produced by the Darwin’s bark spider (scientific name Caerostris darwini), as well as the specific properties of silk glands and glandular derivatives. In a study published in the journal Communications Biology , the researchers focused on a species of Darwin’s bark spider. This spider produces giant orb webs from dragline silk, which can be twice as tough as other silks, making it the toughest biological material. This extreme toughness comes from its increased extensibility. According to Matjaž Gregorič (Biological Institute of ZRC SAZU ), this silk is absolutely the strongest silk both in terms of tensile strength and the amount of energy needed to break it. Dragline silk of Darwin’s bark spider from Madagascar can be twice as tough as any other measured silk and 10-fold tougher than Kevlar due to characteristic spider silk strength combined with unusual extensibility (up to 91 % of its length). The main purpose of the research of Slovenian and American researchers was therefore to find out what could be the cause of such high tenacity silk. Today, research in the field of spider silk is extremely lively and researchers are working to discover everything from the patterns of its evolution and genetic background to how it can be successfully synthesized in the laboratory. According to Gregorič, “we cannot even imagine the extent of its possible use, when one day we will be able to synthesize it really effectively in the laboratory”.

Prepared by: Prof. dr. Andrej Demšar.
Photo source.

Do you know the label »COTTON MADE IN AFRICA«?+

It stands for the internationally recognized standard for sustainably produced cotton from Africa, established by the Aid by Trade Foundation. Cotton products with this label indicate, that the cotton fibres were not produced by genetic engineering and artificial irrigation, and that the production contributes to a 40% less greenhouse gases formation as does the conventional cotton production. At the same time, Aid by Trade Foundation provides trade support to small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. They have established an international alliance of textile companies which purchase the Cotton made in Africa raw material and pay a licensing fee to use the seal. The proceeds from licensing fees, in following with the workings of a social business, are reinvested in the project regions of Sub-Saharan Africa to improve the living standards of farmers and their families.

By wearing textile products with a Cotton made in Africa label, you become a part of a large movement for sustainable cotton production and you importantly contribute to the future of Africa and to protecting human rights and nature.

Find more information here.

Do you know why wool felts?+

Wool felting is one of the oldest techniques for producing non-woven flat fabrics. Wool felting can be achieved by wetting the rough wool fibres with soap solution and then treating the fibres with strong mechanical force and heat. As the surface of the wool fibres is covered with scaly cells, these can open when the fibre swells. This is the reason for the permanent entanglement of the fibres with each other as they move during kneading. To enrich the dreary winter days, the students of the 2nd year of Textile and Clothing Engineering used the felt technique and produced colourful flowers during the seminar work in the course Bleaching and Finishing.

Prepared by: Assist. Prof. Brigita Tomšič.

Innovations “FireEater” and “Cotton Miracle”+

On January 30, 2019, the Start:IP event, a business meeting event for researchers, entrepreneurs and investors, took place in Vienna.

15 researchers from Austria, Hungary and Slovenia participated in the event. The University of Ljubljana was represented by: Jelena Vasiljevic from Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering; Nika Kruljec and Matjaz Ravnikar from Faculty of Pharmacy, Alan Kacin from Faculty of Health Sciences, Tomaž Podobnikar from Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering and Marija Čolović from National Institute of Chemistry. Each of them presented the innovation to the professional and entrepreneurial public.

Two presented innovations, i.e. the CoTTon Miracle and FireEater, were developed in a collaboration between National Institute of Chemistry and Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana. The “Cotton Miracle” is highly wash resistant water and oil repellent coating for cotton fabric, whilst the “FireEater” represents self-extinguishing and flame retardant polyamide textile fibers.

Both technologies were selected for this competition as both of them are patent protected innovations, which is of high interest for the commercialization because of the high Technology Readiness Levels.

The innovations have been well accepted and will compete for the “Best Presentation” title.

A laundry in space with the help of carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts+

Did you know that astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are sent by approx. 660 kilograms of new clothes from Earth each year? Because of the limited quantities of water, they cannot wash clothes, but discard them after three to four days of use.
Therefore the Russian company RKK Energia is developing washing machine to use in the space that would use the liquefied carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts.


Artificial "textile muscles"+

Swedish researchers have designed artificial “textile muscles” that make it easier for people with disabilities to move. With a special combination of weaving and knitting processes, the manufactured muscles are constructed of cellulose yarn and covered with an electroactive polymer and have an adjustable force and elongation, depending on the desired moves.

Text and image sources:

Prepared by: dr. Miriam Leskovsek

Do you know geotextiles?+

The technical textiles sector, which is experiencing positive economic and employment trends in the EU, is an example of a “traditional sector” that has succeeded in transforming itself into a new business model fully adapted to the needs of the new industrial revolution (smarter, more inclusive and sustainable). Textile materials and technologies in the field of technical textiles are key innovations that could help to meet a wide range of social challenges.
Technical textiles in other sectors act as a driving force, as they are inseparably linked to alternative materials (light, flexible, soft, (more) functional, durable) and new technologies (flexible, durable, versatile).
The nature of the fibers (polyester, polypropylene, viscose, cotton, carbon, glass, aramid, etc.) and the choice of the most appropriate production techniques (spinning, weaving, weaving, knitting, non-woven, etc.), including finishing (dyeing, printing, coating) , lamination, etc.) enable manufacturers of technical textiles to offer textile solutions that provide mechanical, substitute or protective properties that meet the specific needs of end users. Therefore, the definition does not depend on the raw materials, fibers or technologies used, but on the end use of the product.
One of the priority sectors, which according to EDANE (European Fiber Association) has an annual growth rate of 3 %, is technical textiles and geotextiles in them. Geotextiles (geotextiles) are primarily intended for earthworks, particularly in the construction industry.
Geotextiles can consist of three structurally different materials: woven, knitted and non-woven structures. Due to their different properties (reinforcement, separation, filtration properties) and their basic prices, mainly non-woven fabrics (fibers) are used in this sector. Fibers used as geotextiles are usually produced by dry (carding) or extrusion processes and cured mechanically (by needle) and thermally (calendered or with hot air).

Research: within the framework of the doctoral thesis of the candidate Špela Bezgovšek.
Research paper: INFLUENCE OF THE NON-GEOTILE STRUCTURES PARAMETERS ON SEPARATION AND FILTRATION IN ROAD CONSTRUCTIONby Spela Bezgovsek, Dunja Sajn Gorjanc, Boštjan Pulko, Stanislav Lenart; accepted for publication in February 2019 by Autex Research Journal.

Prepared by: Assist. Prof. Dunja Šajn Gorjanc.

Do you know anything about sports after winter?+

Within the framework of the diploma work of student Sonja Mlinar, an interesting research was conducted on the topic of DEVELOPING FOOTWEAR USED FOR WINTER SPORTS ACTIVITY. The work was done in collaboration with Alpina, a footwear factory where the young graduate also got a job.

For winter sports shoes and footwear in general is important to be made from quality materials that do not let water but they breathe at the same time. Leather, coated materials or laminated textiles are mostly used for outer parts. The base is usually made of non-woven or laminated textiles or leather. Intermediate reinforcing materials are often made of thermoplastic materials in the form of woven and non-woven textiles. As a part of diploma thesis, a simple footwear was designed, which is intended for wearing after the winter sports activity. Four coated materials were selected, one of them with a microporousus coating and a warp knit, five laminates, three of them with a microporous coating and warp knit and one non-woven fabric. The purpose of the diploma thesis is to determine from the selected materials which has the most suitable characteristics for the outer part or the lining of a footwear intended for use after winter sports activity. The most important properties that the materials must have are good tear strenght, abrasion resistance, air permeability, water vapour permeability, thermal conductivity and must not allow water to pass. The study found that coated materials have good breaking strenght and abrasion resistance, impermeable to water, but do not breathe at the same time. Laminate also show good breaking strenght and abrasion resistance, but air permeability can not be measured for those containing the microporous membrane. Non-woven textiles, which have good air permeability and water vapor permeability showed the worst breaking strenght and abrasion resistance.


Prpared by: Assist. Prof. Dunja Šajn Gorjanc.

Do you know what electrospinning is?+

Electrospinning is a fibre spinningmethod, where various polymers are transformed into continuent fibres of extremely small diameters. Fibre diameters can range from few nanometers to few micrometers, which is approximately 200 x thinner than the thickness of average human hair.

The formation of the fibers is possible due to the presence of an electric field, thus the spinning solution is squeezed through the syringe and collected on the collector.

This spinning procedure enables spinning of the fibers from chemically modified polymers or combinations of polymers and additives, such as nanoparticles, enzymes, bacteria etc.

Electrospun fibres are used in medical textiles (tissue engineering, wound dressings, drug delivery), filters, protective textiles, sensors, batteries, membranes, catalysts, fuel cells, solar cells etc.

Prepared by: Danaja Štular, young researcher

Do you know bamboo fibers?+

Bamboo fibers

The production of bamboo fibers is about 40000 tons and is increasing every year. The largest producers of bamboo fibers are China, India and Brazil (400 different species). We know 1250 different Phyllostahys Edulis species of bamboo trees. In total 4.21 million hectares of land are cultivated with bamboo trees for the production of bamboo fiber.
Bamboo trees grow in the tropics and subtropics and grow up to 1 m high every day.

Bamboo as a green fiber:

  • A fast growing plant. (the growth takes 3 – 5 years).
  • It can thrive without pesticides and herbicides.
  • It does not need irrigation.
  • Reduces the production of greenhouse gasses (absorbs 5x more CO2).
  • Bamboo trees release 35% and more oxygen into the atmosphere.
  • Prevents soil erosion

Properties of bamboo textile products:

  • Antimicrobial properties.
  • Protection against UV radiation.
  • High water absorption and fast drying.
  • Low shrinkage and durability.
  • Good thermo-regulating properties.

Source: Investigation of the reactivity of lyocell/bamboo yarn fabrics to stresses in use.

Prepared by: Assist. Prof. Dunja Šajn Gorjanc.

"CLOTH TECH" Textiles+

Technical textiles are used for cloth technology, among other things. This group of textiles also includes fibers or non-woven structures, which are also intended for the shoe industry. In this case, they are produced more for the functional purpose of the shoe, but the esthetic properties are not so important. Such materials are mainly used to support and reinforce footwear.
They can be fabrics, knitted or non-woven structures made directly from fibers, yarns or threads, mainly chemical fibers, and to a lesser extent natural fibers.
About 7% of all non-woven technical textiles are typically used for the garment/shoe industry. The annual growth of technical textiles for clothing/shoes is 3%.
Technical textiles for clothing/shoes are mainly intermediate rolls (for reinforcement of garments), microporous membranes (fibers, chemical membranes: e.g. ePTFE), while mainly used fibers or composites are used for the supporting and reinforcing elements of shoes when worn.

Prepared by: Asst. Prof. Dunja Šajn Gorjanc.

Do you know what hygiene products are made of?+

Hygiene products are usually made of fibers and can consist of natural or chemical fibers. Up to 30% of all fibers are intended for hygiene products, so recently recovered cellulose fibers can be recycled for these products. The fact is that between 5% and 15% of waste is for hygiene products.
The hygiene products for intimate care available on the market today are multi-layer, with the first layer usually being extruded and thermally cured (the so-called spunbond process). The most important part of the hygiene products is the inner layer, a filler made of cellulose and super absorber (SAP). The last layer is a protective layer with an adhesive coating.
The layers of the hygiene product can have different raw material compositions, the first skin contact layer is made of polypropylene or polyethylene fibers, lately often viscous fibers, and represents 10% of the total mass of the hygiene product, the filler is made of cellulose, which represents the largest proportion of diapers, i.e. 64% of the total mass, and super absorber (12%). The superabsorbent can absorb 60 times the weight of the liquid. They are made of sodium polyacrylate and have the form of white granules. When the liquid is absorbed, the absorbent is converted from its solid form into a gel.


Prepared by: Assist. Prof. Dunja Šajn Gorjanc.

Technical textiles and composites - student works+

At the end of the second semester in the study year 2018/19, students of the 3rd year of Textile and Clothing Engineering, under the menthorship of Assoc. Prof. Tatjana Rijavec made their first composites in the course TECHNICAL TEXTILES AND COMPOSITES.

Vertical farming+

At the end of the 2018/19 academic year, students of the 2nd year of Textile and Clothing Engineering study and Erasmus students at the course: Planning textiles and comfortableness of clothing, presented their products on the theme: VERTICAL farming under the mentorship of: Assoc. Prof. Tatjana Rijavec, assistant. dr. Tanja Podbevšek and M.Sc. Stanka Kek.

Biomimetic textile structures represent a solution for extracting fog water in desert areas+

Fog water harvesting in the future is a sustainable alternative to drinking water springs. In Germany, the first polymeric 3-D mesh structures (i.e. Raschel mesh) have already been design to act as water collectors. They mimic the hierarchical 3-D leaf structure of the South African plant, lat. Cotula fallax, which has the ability to collect and channel water into the stem of the plant. Research is also being conducted on developing fibers that mimic the wetting ability of spider silk, which allow water droplets to form and be
suspended from the silk due to naturally occurring spindle knots. The knots act facilitate the collection of smaller water drops at specific points, freeing more area for water collection and reducing losses of small
water drops to wind and heat.

Pilot testing of new fog collector designs in Peru:

Mesh netting materials for collecting water droplets from fog:

Water collection by Cotula fallax (a) dry plant; b) wet plant; c) illustration of Cotula fallax
water collection):

The schematic view of water droplet formation on bioinspired fibers with spindle knots (a) fiber with one spindle knot; b) fiber with two spindle knots):

Photos (source).

You can read more in the articles: “Fog water as an alternative and sustainable water resource” (source) and “Bionic development of textile materials for harvesting water from fog” (source).

Prepared by: dr. Mirjam Leskovšek

Recycling of used textile waste+

On average, each Slovenian throws away about 14 kg of clothes per year. The fact that one kilogram of discarded clothing generates 52 kg of carbon dioxide has led to urgent and increasingly popular recycling.
According to the statistical and sorting data, we note that the vast majority of clothing and textile waste is likely to end up in landfills among mixed municipal waste due to: poor organization of collection of clothing and textiles, low awareness of the population, low prices of textiles (new and used), lack of infrastructure for sorting, disinfection and processing of clothing and textiles.
More and more producers are now so sustainable.

Source: Tekstilec: Slovenian Textile Newsletter ISSN 0351-3386, printed edition, 2017, volume 60, appendix 3, pp. SI 119-130 SI.

Prepared by: Assist. Prof. Dunja Šajn Gorjanc.

Did you know that textiles can be smart?+

This can be achieved by the application of stimuli responsive hydrogels with micro-particle size, which hold an ability to detect stimuli from the environment and respond accordingly. When stimuli are present, hydrogel particles swell and shrink reversibly, which can affect the thermoregulation, since the textile material can help us to retain the heat next to our skin when it is cold or transmit the heat through the textile material when it is hot. In the swelling phase the hydrogel particles absorb large quantities of water, which is expelled from the hydrogel structure in the shrinking phase. Water can be replaced with other active substances that inhibit the growth of microorganisms which allows us to achieve controlled release of the substances. In our department we are focusing on development of smart textile materials with the use of ecologically friendly materials and substances. Therefore, we applied temperature and pH responsive hydrogel loaded with antimicrobially active essential oil onto the bio-degradable polylactic acid fabric. In this manner, controlled thermoregulation and controlled release of essential oil from the fabric was achieved only when the temperature increased above 32 °C, which represents the temperature between human body and surroundings. The release of the essential oil inhibits the growth of microorganisms and also provides the pleasant smell. This research was presented on international textile conference AUTEX 2018 in Istanbul (source).

In this research polylactic acid fabric was used. This material is made from plants, usually maize, it is bio-compatible and bio-degradable. From the images obtained with the use of scanning electron microscope, the changes on the fibre surface after the application of stimuli responsive hydrogel and subsequent incorporation of essential oil can be seen.

Schematic presentation of controlled release of essential oils at increased temperature and pH. In this manner essential oil is released slowly and only when it is needed, which prolongers the protective properties of the smart fabrics.

Protection against microbes was analysed with suitable test methods, which have shown that the growth of bacteria Staphylococcus aureus in the vicinity of textile material was not possible due to the release of essential oil.

Textile materials were developed on Chair of Textile and Clothing Engineering in cooperation with National Institute of Chemistry and the research was presented on international conference AUTEX 2018 in Istanbul.

By Danaja Štular, young researcher.

Did you know that the planning of functional textiles that react to different stimuli from the environment could also be investigated in the field of textiles?+

Textiles that react to UV light could be designed by using photochromic dyes. Photochromic dyes are already widely used in optics in the manufacture of photographic glass, while their use in textiles is less common. The specific structure of the photochromic dye makes it possible to convert the dye from the colourless to the coloured form under the influence of UV light. The transition of the dye into the colourless state is influenced by the removal of the light source, the change of the wavelength of the light source or the temperature. Photochromic dyes are commercially available in the form of microcapsules that can be applied to textile material by padding or printing. Microencapsulated photochromic dyes can be used alone or in combination with classical dyes and pigments to create new colour effects. Such textiles can serve as UV sensors and warn against harmful UV radiation from the environment. One of the studies at our department was also the successful application of microencapsulated photochromic dyes on cotton, polyester and polyester/cotton fabrics using the pad-dry-cure process.

Prepared by: Assist. Prof. Mateja Kert.


On August 13th, 2018, the NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was launched to travel closer to the Sun and deeper into the solar atmosphere than any mission before. It will travel closer to our star than anything human before and also faster than any other product of human hands in history. Inside the part of the solar atmosphere, a region known as the corona, Parker Solar Probe will provide unprecedented observations of what drives the wide range of particles, energy and heat that course through the region. The spacecraft will travel through material with temperatures greater than a million degrees Celsius while being bombarded with intense sun light. The probe is protected from the heat of the Sun’s radiation and the surrounding plasma by an 11-centimeter carbon fiber shield which surface heats up to about 1400 degrees Celsius, while the interior of the unit is kept at around 30 °C. The shield was designed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and was built at Carbon-Carbon Advanced Technologies, using a carbon composite foam sandwiched between two carbon plates. This lightweight insulation is accompanied by a finishing touch of white ceramic paint on the sun-facing plate, to reflect as much heat as possible.


Prepared by prof. dr. Andrej Demšar.


Petra Forte TAVČER

Studies show that between 20% and 35% of the microplastics found in the world’s oceans come from textile products, mainly synthetic clothing. The fiber particles are separated from the textile during industrial processing and discharged into the environment with the waste water. A large proportion is also eliminated during household washing. They found that up to 250,000 fiber particles were removed when washing a fleece jacket. They are not removed in municipal sewage treatment plants because they are too small and non-biodegradable consequently they end up in rivers and then in seas.
Microscopic textile fibers are more problematic than non-fibrous microplastics because their large outer surface allows them to absorb larger quantities of chemicals. Due to their shape, they get stuck in the animals’ digestive system and are more difficult to excrete from the body. As a result, various toxic chemical additives and harmful substances are excreted into the body. The absorption of microplastics can also lead to the starvation of organisms whose digestive tract is filled with plastic particles instead of food.
Microplastics have been causing problems in the sea and rivers for two decades, but the effects of microfibres on aquatic systems and marine organisms are not yet well understood, and even less is known about their effects on human health. They note that the problems will continue to increase over time, due to global demographics. The demand for synthetic fibers is increasing with the growing world population and GDP. It is predicted that synthetic fiber production will grow by 3.5% per year until at least 2025. Already more than 60% of all textiles are made from synthetic fibers.
Research institutes, textile and governmental institutions at global and European level are setting up systems to study micro-plastics in aquatic systems and to find solutions to reduce this problem. For the time being, however, the researchers’ reports recommend that the textile industry and in particular the general public should reduce the production and use of synthetic textile products in general, raise consumer awareness of synthetic clothing and replace as much as possible with natural fibers.

Source: Ecotextile News, No. 83., Feb/March 2018, page 26 (summarised by: Prof. Petra Forte Tavčer).

Did you know we also design UV protective textiles during the study?+

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and the main factor that causes skin cells to become cancerous is exposure to UV radiation. For that reason, protection against UV radiation is important. In addition to using sunblock lotions, wearing UV protective garments is recommended. In our research, we in situ synthesized ZnO on cotton fabric, since ZnO can provide excellent protection against UV-A and UV-B radiation. The influence of different synthesis parameters was also investigated. Using UV/Vis spectroscopy, very high UPF values (UPF 50+) were measured. Such fabric provides excellent protection against UV radiation and could be used for the production of UV protective textiles (i.e. clothes, parasols).

source: Verbič, Anja, 2018: INFLUENCE OF IN-SITU SYNTHESIS PARAMETERS ON ACHIEVING UV PROTECTIVE COTTON FABRIC, Master’s thesis/paper, NTF – Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering.

By Anja Verbič, young researcher.

Come to us to play Ludo!+

“Kroparin dragon Ludo” is a social board game that uses linen fabric with printed motifs of Kropa iron forging art as its playing ground.

The product is multifunctional as it can also be used as a textile for interior decor (napkin or napkins), which evokes memories of the Kropa tradition.
You can find the rules of the game in the source cited. (source: Kočar, Anže, 2018, Development of a social board game on textile substrate: Undergraduate thesis, NTF – Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering).

Did you know we also design bio textiles during the study of textiles?+

In the fields of clothing, interior textiles, technical textiles and at the production of eco green composites biodegradable hemp textiles can be made from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) fibers. A woven decorative fabricated handbag with inserted patterned hemp fabric intended as a laptop cover or as a women’s bag has been designed (source: Kogoj, Vesna, 2016, Fibres from industrial hemp cannabis sativa L. for diverse biobased products: Undergraduate thesis, NTF – Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering ).


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