Visit of RWTH Aachen University
The Fiber Year GmbH was privileged to visit RWTH Aachen University where about 550 professors educate more than 45,000 students in the winter semester of 2018/19. Special interest was attached to the textile institute (Institut für Textiltechnik - ITA), headed by Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt. Ing. Thomas Gries, the various departments with more than 350 employees and the numerous projects in composites, manmade fiber technology, medical textiles, product development, textile construction and textile engineering.
A tour through the institute revealed the impressive facilities from tackling recycling along the entire textile process chain motivated by annual waste of about 50 million tonnes polyester garment and 15 million tonnes cotton-polyester blends. Integrating micro capsules into the yarn may enable to reduce inhomogeneous textile waste and, thus, enlarge the recycling potential.
Market expectations for smart textiles are very promising with anticipated multiplication in the years to come due to enhanced end-uses beyond today’s dominating sports applications. Textile-integrated products and in future textile-based articles will take increasing functions to make life easier and more comfortable. The challenge is to bring these new technologies into serial production.
High performance fibers in concrete structures lower maintenance and repair costs in infrastructure and houses as they are not susceptible to corrosion and fatigue. Progress in that field will allow to print houses and bridges someday. Research and innovations at ITA decisively contribute to badly needed improvements in the textile world and an exchange with experts is tremendously illuminating to make the world a better place.