Digitization and Dematerialization

The development of fabrics for fashion apparel is currently subject to major changes and permanent exchange of information. The market changes its demand and needs according to the socio-economic conditions seen from the perspective of globalization, function of the country / continent. In this context, the agility and speed with which it returns and presents solutions to the market / customer by proposal or request, is vital for the success of the development and growth of companies.

This nuclear activity has the objective of researching and developing a dematerialization tool for samples and sample plants that will include the conceptualization and implementation of a digital platform for integration, treatment and data analysis to support the decision in virtual tissue prototyping.

The design and development of technical clothing for sports is a process involving many phases. It is therefore complex and time consuming because it involves a lot of reengineering work and a permanent contact with each athlete / sports modality so that the equipment to be developed corresponds to the real needs of each one. These must comply with the regulations of the official entities, specific to each modality.

This nuclear activity aims to digitize and dematerialize the physical prototypes in the process of developing technical clothing for sports (dematerialized modeling of sports apparel).

From this will result a sensorized suit that will incorporate the technology of capture of movement and other sensors that will gather information like biometric and biomechanical data and other information relative to the movements of the athlete that is important for the definition of the form of the prototype to construct and the properties of the raw materials to be used in the construction of the prototype.

In conjunction with the sensorized suit, a mobile application will be developed to collect objective data and systematize information so that companies are able to virtually (ie without the need for a physical prototype) optimize the fitting and comfort of the garment they want to develop for a given athlete and / or sports modality.

New Materials

Sports clothing and more specifically technical clothing with light-responsive features for outdoor sports (cycling, running, jogging, etc.) practiced during daytime periods with poor visibility (late afternoon, night or obscured environments) is extremely important for security of users, mainly at the level of their visibility.

On a daily basis, are several the sportsman and sportwomen that practice their activity in darkened environments, exposed to vehicular traffic and are in very low visibility conditions in view of the type of light-responsive clothing they use.

The main objectives of the activity New light-responsive materials are:

i) R&D of new luminescent and reflective fibers and yarns, using emerging tricomponent extrusion technologies and new light-responsive materials;

ii) R&D of new fibers from transparent materials, which allow light emission along its longitudinal section;

iii) R&D of new architectures with appealing design through innovative combinations of structures and yarns, combined with innovative finishing processes.

Motorcycle clothing is highly demanding in terms of standard requirements for impact protection. Off-road races (off-road or all terrain) are one of the most popular motorcycle sports, which can be practiced as leisure and also in organized competitions, professional or amateur.

By its nature, this sport carries risks and requires the use of adequate protective equipment, namely helmets, gloves, knee pads, vests, etc. Protective vests against stones and other off-road projectiles usually include back and chest protectors being composed of several panels usually made of rigid thermoplastic materials, with impact protection function, and textiles, with comfort function, united through seams, bonding, fastening and fastening devices (screws), adjusters, etc. Given the high number of panels and components, the production of this type of article involves a large number of productive operations, particularly in the assembly of the final product.

There are several products on the market with different levels of complexity and impact protection, and although they meet the requirements for impact protection, they present constraints on comfort, flexibility and weight. These are mainly due to the rigidity of materials and fittings (screws).

The main objectives of the activity New materials with high impact protection are:

i) R&D of new advanced high performance impact protection solutions with application in off-road vests, based on a new technological approach and new materials;

ii) R&D of advanced textile solutions that meet the requirements necessary for the injection, use, comfort and protection processes.

With regard to protective clothing, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) has been increasingly critical to business success, as it contributes to a reduction in accidents, occupational diseases, and work quality of the employees, thus increasing the productivity and competitiveness of companies and consequently of the Portuguese economy.

In the health sector, on a daily basis and throughout the world, there are several health professionals and patients who are exposed to ionizing radiation, both in therapeutical processes and in diagnostic processes. Despite the little systematized efforts of some government agencies to disseminate knowledge directed to Radiological Protection activities, the knowledge about the effects produced by exposures that exceed the established radiation limits are still of little domain, even among professionals of the area. As a form of protection, health professionals and patients use individual X-ray medical protective clothing, which is generally made up of lead and is of high weight and toxicity, posing serious problems for public health and the environment.

The main objectives of the activity New materials for X-ray protective clothing are:

i) R&D of advanced materials for X-ray protection using new composites and formulations;

ii) R&D of new architectures for the development of complex textile structures for protection of lead free X-rays.

In recent years we have seen, in the fashion area, a growing bet on activewear. This approach results mainly from social change through a healthier lifestyle, healthy diet, frequent exercise practice and a balance between working and leisure time, which is reflected in the choice of clothing.

Cycling to the workplace or taking a yoga session at lunch break are increasingly frequent activities that lead to the use of activewear apparel in professional environments. This new lifestyle has transposed into the day-to-day and weekend clothing of a considerable segment of urban professionals who work in the city and enjoy leisure in the city itself or in nature breaks, becaming a strong trend.

Developments in the area of activewear are focus mainly on the adaptation of traditional sports pieces to a contemporary and urban design, especially knitted pieces that can be used and combined in different contexts, in addition to the gym.

In this context, the use of wool has been prominent, especially merino wool for its ability to transfer perspiration to the outside, its resistance to odor and easy maintenance. Based on activewear inspirations, this trend is mainly based on day-to-day clothing, but with performance and comfort characteristics that are reflected in a sophisticated and at the same time, relaxed lifestyle.

The main objectives of the activity New fabrics for high performance applications based on natural fibers are:

i) R&D of high performance multifunctional fibers and yarns with wool base;

ii) R&D of new architectures through the conjugation of wool-based structures and yarns with wool base conciliated with innovative finishing processes.

Also in the fashion area, multifunctionality is an attribute more and more required by consumers, who consider it as a differentiating factor in their choices, since it associates and adapts product valorization properties (aesthetic, comfort, protection or easy care) to different situations / conditions of use.

At the same time, the demand and preference for ecologically sustainable solutions has become more pronounced, making the processes most commonly used to confer the desired multifunctionality (based essentially on the use of raw materials of synthetic origin, the incorporation of chemical products fibers / yarns or the application of finishes and coatings to the fabrics) do not adjust.

The demand for leisure-wear products that promote UV protection has been increasing, particularly as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the health risks posed by sun exposure.

The main objectives of the activity New multifunctional fabrics with UV protection based on natural cellulosic fibers are:

i) R&D of multifunctional fabrics with UV protection based on natural cellulosic fibers;

ii) development of a numerical model to predict UPF of the fabrics from the construction parameters.

New Structures

This activity has the objective of researching and developing new hybrid and intelligent textile structures for the reinforcement of thermoendurable composites, with sensorial capacity, which, in addition to serving as reinforcement, also allow the monitoring of the mechanical performance of structural parts, in view of the prediction of eventual failures and the need for part replacement (preventive maintenance of components).

In this context, fibers with sensory properties, multifunctional sizing formulations, thermoendurable matrix materials, electronic components (connection, control and communication hardware) and integration / construction processes of the multifunctional textile base composite (textile reinforcement + matrix + electronic components) will be studied. The legitimacy of this technological approach will be performed through the validation of textile-based thermoendurable semi-products with potential application in structural components.

The objective of this activity is the research and development of new complex textile structures for reinforcement of thermoplastic composites. The aim is to develop structural components for automobile, with a higher mechanical performance than the existing thermoplastic composite solutions and a higher production rate when compared with conventional thermoendurable components, achieving a compromise between weight and performance.

In the scope of this activity, high-performance fibers and a combination of different types of fibers, multifunctional sizing formulations, thermoplastic matrix (injection) materials and integration / construction processes of the textile based composite (textile reinforcement + array) will be studied and developed.

The legitimation of this technological approach will be achieved through the validation of a thermoformed semi-product with potential application in structural components and an injected component.

The workwear and personal protective (PPE) market is highly demanding in terms of meeting a variety of general and standard requirements, associated with multiple risk protection, capable of threaten the safety and health of users.

In addition, there is an increasing awareness of the need to wear suitable clothing for worker protection, although there is still strong resistance to this use, in large part because the use of PPE causes discomfort and additional effort.

This is the path that follows this activity that seeks to investigate and develop knitted fabric structures that simultaneously meet different standard requirements with reference to European standards. Multi-hazard protection with this coverage is only usually achieved through woven fabric structures.

The provision of knitted fabric structures with the desired levels of protection will bring irrefutable benefits to users at the most diverse levels: lightness, comfort, ease of movement and, consequently, energy reserve for reaction to dangerous situations.

This nuclear activity aimed the research and development of textile structures with advanced functionalities and performances for the production of multi-layered individual protective clothing for farmers.

The aim is to protect workers from recurrent extreme environments in their professional activity resulting from contact with perforating agents, chemicals, high temperatures and exposure to UV rays, in order to reduce the growing incidence of health problems in these professionals.

The development of this type of technical and functional clothing will fill a gap in the market with regard to the lack of personal protective equipment for agricultural activities.

IE Textiles

Recent data published by the National Highway Safety Authority (ANSR) indicate that the accident rate in Portugal in 2015 increased by 4.8% compared to 2014. 

Road safety is also one of the major societal challenges of today and has been one of the priorities for investment by the European Commission. The implementation of the Road Safety Program (2011 and 2020) is an example and sets ambitious goals.

 It is within this framework that emerge the pertinence of the development of automobile seats with monitoring capacity, that allow to act directly on the safety of the user of the vehicle, assuring the reduction of exposure to the probability of accident in road environments.

Sleep disturbances have a major impact on quality of life, with studies showing that about 25% of the population qualifies their sleep as bad or very bad.

This segment of the population with sleep deprivation may contract several physiological changes, compromising the health status of the individual, especially with respect to endocrine, metabolic, physical, cognitive and neuronal functions.

In order to market new products that promote continuous and permanent improvement of the user's sleep quality, a mattress cover with temperature control system will be developed using micro channels for heating and cooling.

According to the data of the Portuguese Surfing Federation, there are around 11 500 federated athletes in Portugal, a total of 165 clubs and 365 schools, 3 national associations and 100 activities organized annually by the federation, and these numbers tend to grow. The International Surf Organization estimates that there are about 23 million people practicing this sport around the world.

There are, however, risks associated with this sport, and according to the National Weather Service, since 2014 there have been more than two hundred accidents that have resulted in the death of surfers in the United States. In view of these facts, it was identified the need to develop a new suit for surfing in particularly adverse environments, in order to increase the comfort, performance and safety of the user.

Circular Economy

The research and development of a new generation of coated textile solutions, through the use of waste and by-products of vegetable origin with new multifunctional properties combined with design and special fashion effects form the basis of this activity. The solutions to be developed are to obtain an alternative to natural and / or synthetic leather.

The aim of this work is to respond to one of the major trends in consumption, related to ethically and environmentally sustainable attitudes and to develop products with a high potential for application in technical and functional areas, such as technofashion, ecodesign, clothing, decoration, home textiles, footwear, fashion accessories, sport, protection, among others.

The purpose of this activity is to research and develop a new generation of coated textile solutions by using waste and by-products resulting from industrial operations, such as the tanning industry, natural leather cutting (for indoor automotive) and EVA (for shoe components) with new multifunctional properties combined with fashion design and special effects.

It is therefore the purpose of this activity to meet one of the major trends of current consumption, which is related to ethically and environmentally sustainable behavior, developing products with high potential for application in technical and functional areas and in rapid expansion: tecnofashion, ecodesign, clothing, decoration, home textiles, footwear, fashion accessories, sport, protection, among others.

This activity aims the research and development of a new generation of coated textile solutions, through the use of waste and by-products from the dairy industry, with new multifunctional properties combined with design and special fashion effects.

 It is intended to correspond to what has been registered with regard to the attitude of consumers, who are increasingly concerned with ethical, environmental and sustainability issues, and to develop products that have the potential to be applied in technical and functional areas and that are in significant expansion: tecnofashion, ecodesign, clothing, decoration, home textiles, footwear, fashion accessories, sport, protection, among others.

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