InnoSolTEX® – Functionalized Textiles

© Photo Fraunhofer ISC

Textiles with InnoSolTex® coating.

Textiles today must meet a number of high requirements. They are not only used for clothing but, as high-tech materials, also fulfill technical or protective functions. The manifold areas of application pose new challenges since there are specific standards protective clothing must meet
in accordance with their area of application. Depending on what is required, the textiles must offer protection from mechanical influence, heat or flames, moisture, chemical substances as well as microorganisms and also contain antistatic function. Protective clothing can be designed in a
number of different ways to protect against one or several of these influences.

Six functions in one textile coating

Since fibers and textile structures cannot fulfill all requirements, they have to be processed. Up to now, it has not been possible to include all protective properties in one product. Together with its cooperation partner, Fraunhofer ISC has now developed a new hybrid coating sol based on inorganic-organic hybrid polymers.

The InnoSolTex® coating system enables six functions to be combined. The basis for the coating is the ORMOCER® inorganic-organic hybrid polymer class of materials developed at Fraunhofer ISC. The properties of these polymers can be varied in accordance with requirements. They fulfill hydrophobic, flame-resistant and wash-resistant functions and simultaneously provide an anti-static surface, improved wear resistance and an  antimicrobial effect. The coating properties can be specifically arranged with a modular system according to customer requirements.

Only one step in the production sequence

The new coating can be applied either on the yarn or on the finished material. An additional benefit: Already existing production facilities can be upgraded with the system. It is also possible to coat the textiles in only one production step. The new InnoSolTex® lacquers can be diluted with water and stored for several weeks without any problem at a temperature of 6 °C.

In parallel to these material developments at Fraunhofer ISC, the production of its partners was scaled up to manufacture batch sizes of 30  kilograms. First industrial tests show that the coated yarns can be excellently processed to flat textile fabrics. They do not stick or tear and can be easily unwound from the spool, even at higher machine speeds. The textiles can be washed with mild detergents or disinfectants, keep their shape even after several washing cycles and maintain their antimicrobial function.

The new InnoSolTex® coating system thus combines several advantages: fewer process steps during production, lower energy and production costs and a high-performance product that can be processed in conventional industrial facilities without any problem.