The aim of the research project is to develop novel membrane systems based on thermoplastic elastomers and microgels. In this way, an environmentally friendly, fluorine-free, functional and low-maintenance alternative to conventional membranes will be developed. Microgels consist of amphiphilic polymer particles that respond to changes in environmental conditions, especially temperature, by absorbing or releasing water. The controllable water uptake enables the development of innovative coating systems that allow controlled water transport through switchability. By using thermoplastic elastomers as matrix material, stretchability and easy processing by 3D printing (melting process) for targeted application in particularly stressed areas of a textile become possible. To achieve this goal, microgels are modified to enable water transport in the relevant temperature window and to ensure compatibility with the matrix material. By combining microgel and matrix material, composite materials and masterbatches can be created that are suitable for processing with different application technologies. Different layer structures of membrane and textile will be tested for physiological comfort as well as care and processing properties. The result of the research project should be a demonstrator that shows that the new membrane system responds to the wearer's activity level, is extremely permeable to water vapor and remedies deficits such as condensation on the inside of the membrane. The benefit for SMEs lies in particular in the flexibility of the new membrane, which allows clothing that is close to the body to be fitted with semi-permeable layers, thus opening up new product segments and making existing products more attractive. In the field of occupational safety clothing, wearer comfort can be increased because long periods of wear make it necessary to keep the skin dry.
Project Management: German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)
Funding reference number: IGF Research-Project 21723 N