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13 November 2012 | PR 12/200

Research aims to explore new techniques for the textiles industry and boost sustainability

Textiles

A collaborative research project between Loughborough University’s School of the Arts and De Montfort University’s School of Fashion and Textiles aims to explore new technologies for the colouring and patterning of textiles and boost the sustainability of the textile industry.

Post graduate students from each University are investigating enzymatic and laser processing technologies and their combination.  Whilst lasers and enzymes have both been used in textiles before, their application and potential for use as a creative design tool is unexplored and this will be the focus of the research.

In the project enzyme technology will be developed for colour and 3D pattern design effects.  The techniques used and effects achieved will be enhanced through the use of laser both pre and post enzyme treatment and by targeting specific fibres.

The research has potentially far reaching consequences for the sustainability of the textiles and clothing sector.  Chemicals are routinely used in traditional dyeing, bleaching, printing and finishing techniques.  Large amounts of water and energy are used and effluent created in many processes.  The use of enzyme and laser technology offers the prospect of substantial reductions in the use of chemicals, the amounts of water and energy used and effluent produced.

Substantial funding of over £200,000 has been received for the project from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  Speedo, Camira Fabrics and Teresa Green Design are also supporting the project with fabric sourcing, design prototyping and concept evaluation.  The research is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Dr Faith Kane, lecturer in Textiles at Loughborough’s School of the Arts is supervising student Laura Morgan together with Professor John Tyrer from the School of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering.  At De Montfort University Professor Jinsong Shen and Dr Edward Smith are supervising student Chetna Prajapati.

Dr Kane comments:  “We are very excited at the prospect of this research creating exciting new design opportunities with the benefit of delivering efficiency benefits and improved sustainability for our sector.”

Professor Shen, co-ordinator of the project said: This is a good opportunity to bring biotechnology and laser technology together in developing innovative techniques for textile design.  This kind of research could make a real difference to the textile industry and its sustainability.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Alison Barlow
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228696
E: A.J.Barlow@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 12 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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