Research Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics


Located in: Dornbirn, Vorarlberg, Austria

Since: 1982

Staff members: 20 (including 6 PhD students)

Work area: Regional, national and international level

Website: www.uibk.ac.at


About us
The Institute, founded in 1982 as a scientific Institute of the University of Innsbruck, cumulates fundamental research and applied research and development activities in the field of textile chemistry and textile physics.

Basic research and applied research is performed in the field of textile chemistry (pre-treatment, dyeing, printing, finishing and textile fibres) and textile physics, and selected topics of chemical technology. The intensive interaction with textile and fibre industry results in applied projects.

The themes of the scientific work are given on the one hand by industrial demands and on the other hand basic scientific investigations are performed on topics of general interest.

The research activities are characterised by three main aspects:

  1. intensive interaction between fundamental research and applied research with industrial partners
  2. formation of interdisciplinary research co-operations to perform research on complex topics
  3. focus on international partnership with research groups and enterprises

Current Research profile and activities
Textiles for Ageing Society (TAGS)
More information can be found within this homepage.

FP7 EU-Project Marie Curie Initial Training Network STEP Shaping and Transformation in the Engineering of Polysaccharides

Naturally occurring polysaccharides constitute the largest segment of all available polymers, and hence exhibit the greatest potential as renewable, sustainable, and eco-friendly replacements for man-made polymers derived from fossil-resources. That this potential remains untapped to a large degree is testament to the inherent challenges in converting polysaccharides from natural sources to forms more suited for human use.

One of the major challenges in the conversion of polysaccharides is overcoming the non-covalent interactions that characterize polysaccharide structures and lead to significant restraints on their processability. The non-covalent interactions exert strong influence on polysaccharide conversion by restricting polymer dissolution in solvents, limiting thermal processability of polysaccharides, and dictating the feasibility and extent of polymer functionalization.

The objective of the STEP-ITN is to gain fundamental understanding of the non-covalent interactions in polysaccharide structures and utilize the knowledge to develop ways and means of overcoming their influence on polysaccharide conversion processes. This concerted and coherent multi-disciplinary effort spanning diverse areas of specialization and an active participation of the industry sector will generate significant advances in the science and technology of polysaccharide conversion.

An intimate involvement in all aspects of the collaboration (research, knowledge transfer, dissemination, coordination) along with an extensive program of training in a wide variety of fields will allow early-stage and experienced researchers to develop the technical proficiency and complementary skills required to make significant contributions to science and technology in their professional careers.

Focus of Research

  • To design modes of transformation that will impart special properties to polysaccharide-based materials, e.g. thermoplasticity.
  • To design modes of shaping to engineer polysaccharide-based materials towards desired end-uses.
  • To identify and optimize critical variables in conversion, viz. in transformation and shaping processes.
  • To characterize materials obtained from the innovative conversion processes and tune their performance to meet end-use requirements.
  • To determine feasibility of transferring the innovations to commercial-scale production.

Focus of Researcher Training

  • Formulation, planning, management and execution of research work.
  • Development of critical analysis and problem-solving skills.
  • Cooperative team-working; communication (oral and written); networking.
  • Best practice in sharing of information and data, transfer-of-knowledge, management of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
  • Entrepreneurship

Funded from the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under Grant Agreement No. 214015
The network is comprised of 8 Full Partners and 6 Associated Partners. Full Partners recruit eligible researchers and provide research training; while Associated Partners do not recruit researchers but provide research training, secondment opportunities, and participate in the supervisory board of the network.

The European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence – Association
Increased international activity resulted from the cooperation in the Network of Excellence, the EPNOE –Polysaccharides (www.epnoe.org).

The institute is member of the EPNOE Association (European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence) which at present is formed by 16 research institutions in Europe. The members are specialised institutions which cover the field of polysaccharide research for example wood, pulp, paper, cellulose, cellulose fibres, starch. (homepage: www.epnoe.org). Partners: Armines-Ensmp-CNRS-Centre de Mise en Forme des Matériaux CEMEF (F), University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (A); Univ. Jena, Centre of excellence for Polysacch. Research Jena (D); Fraunhofer-Institute for Applied Polymer Research, Golm (D); VTT Biotechnology, Espoo, (FIN); Federal Research Centre of Forestry and Forest Products and University of Hamburg (D); ABO Akademi Lab. of Wood and Paper Chemistry, Turku, (FIN); ”Petru Poni” Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry (RO); Laboratory for Characterisation and Processing of Polymers, Univ. of Maribor, (SLO); A&F, Wageningen (NL); TITK Thüringen, (D); Institute of Chemical Fibres, Lodz, (P); School of Biosciences, Div. Food Science, Univ. Nottingham (UK); Univ. Utrecht, Dept. Science, Technology and Society, (NL), Univ. Graz, Graz, (A).

The network forms a platform which initiates joint projects, exchange of researchers and intends to form a virtual European research institution.

K-Project Sports-Textiles
Two departments of the University Innsbruck (Research Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics and Department of Sport Science), one Department of the Medical University Innsbruck (Division of Molecular Biology), all with international expertise in the area of textile research and sport science, and the Centre of Technology of Ski and Alpine Sports act as complementary scientific partners to execute research and technology transfer in the scope of the project. The goal of the project is combine the competence of these institutions with the technical capabilities of producers of sports textiles. This cooperation allows systematic research starting from textile fibres to complete garment concepts regarding all aspects like chemical and physical characteristics and their effects on the person (e.g. physiological responses, wear comfort). This combination will be the greatest advantage of the consortium and forms a unique characteristic.
The K-project serves as platform to support product development by technology driven innovation and provides partner companies with new products and materials offering improved performance.

This research activities focus on different selected aspects:

1) Sports textiles can improve performance in competitive sports: cooling, compression, air resistance.
2) Sports textiles can optimise benefit to risk ratio in recreational sports: cooling and heat storage, textile support for muscles and/or joints, rain-proof and breathable fabrics for different conditions.

Partners are Skinfit, Spinnerei Giesingen, Feinjersey, Textilverein Vorarlberg, Lohmann und Rauscher, Löffler, Lenzing, Anzi Besson Sport and ÖSV.

Swelling of cotton and regenerated fibres (lyocell, viscose, modal) / alkali treatment and mercerisation
Pre-treatment of cotton and regenerated fibres with different swelling steps influences the subsequent processes and the resulting product properties and quality.

Research Studio Smart Technical Embroideries
Due to the special competences in cellulose fibre research, textile chemical and physical research, the institute keeps a competitive position among the comparable institutions in Europe.

Interdisciplinary fundamental research for textiles is a particular strength of the Institute, which also marks a strong difference to existing competitors in the field.

During its specialised research activities the institute already executed specific co-operations with companies active in the field of embroideries.

The research in the field of technical embroideries builds on the competences of the institute:

  • textile materials, polymer chemistry and polymer modification
  • textile physics and mechanics
  • textile chemistry and chemical modification of assemblies
  • production and processing technology
  • sensors and electrical devices / electrochemistry, corrosion
  • scale up and material testing.

The pressing need for a coordinated high level research activity, including transfer of basic results into products, prototype development and assistance in product scale-up can be man-aged in an ideal way through the Research Studio Smart Technical Embroidery.

The activities of the research studio will focus around two main activities which both base on existing basic know-how and expertise available at the institute:

  1. Composites and 3D-structures: Embroidery as structural element
  2. Molecular and electrical functionality: Implementation of functionality in embroidery: molecular chemical functionality (e.g. indicator dyes, pharmaceutical products); electrical functionality (e.g. sensors, optical elements)

The Research Studio „Smart Technical Embroidery“ (RS-STE) will utilise research results of the institute and advance them into important technology transfer topics for utilization by regional embroidery producers. The planned activities will establish the Research Studio as a major scientific partner close to new market applications.

Textile finishing – optimization of classical finishing procedures and development of different functionalities for cotton
On the base of research projects with companies in the field of anti-crease finish a set of different parameters was studied. The results can be used for the optimization of finishing processes. Non-formaldehyde durable press finishing, application of sol-gel technology to textile materials (mechanical, hydrophobic or oleophobic, optical, bioactive properties to the substrates).

Natural dyes for textile dyeing
In a series of joint projects with the Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology (Framework “Fabrik der Zukunft”) basic investigations with regard to sources for natural dyes in Europe and scale-up of the technology was done. At present the project named Colours of Nature was performed to obtain results with dyeings on pilot scale in cooperation with companies. Partners are IM Fussenegger, Schoeller Textil, Glückstoff, Viehböck Leinenweberei, Biotextil.at.

Electrochemical processes
in textile processing: The application of electrochemical processes (indirect and direct electrolysis) focuses on the substitution of reducing chemicals / oxidants in textile chemical processing by regenerable mediator systems or direct cathodic/anodic electron transfer. The activity belongs to the long term projects leading to papers, patents and industrial cooperation. The institute covers the scientific part, while scale-up activities are performed with industrial partners. The activities include: vat dyeing, sulphur dyeing, waste water decolourisation, bleach processes. e.g. EUREKA-Project E!2625 ECDVAT  – Electrochemical Vat Dyeing (First full scale installation of a electrochemical dyeing unit at Getzner Textile in Bludenz A. was awarded Innovation Award, Society of Dyers and Colorists, Okt. 2004, Birmingham, UK (technical innovation), Lillehammer Award 2006, Electrochemical Vat Dyeing, 8.6.2006, Prague 2006