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Textile

'Quelching' noise as well as light and translucent, a combination that has been lacking in...

Heavy curtains made from thick material such as velvet are often needed to keep noise out of indoor environments, but Swiss researchers have come up with another option. The Empa researchers, in collaboration with textile designer Annette Douglas and silk weavers Weisbrod-Zurrer AG, have developed lightweight, translucent curtains which are five times more effective at absorbing sound than their conventional counterparts.  Read More

Biotech firm Sigma Life Science plans on developing genetically-modified silkworms, that w...

Although cobwebs may seem very fragile when we see people like Indiana Jones crashing through them, the fact is that spider silk is an incredibly strong and flexible material. It has a tensile strength similar to that of high-grade steel while only being one-fifth as dense, it can stretch up to 1.4 times its relaxed length without breaking, and it can maintain those properties down to a temperature of -40C (-40F). Given that spiders don't secrete huge quantities of the stuff on a daily basis, however, what's a biotech firm to do if it wishes to harvest the fibers for use in human technology? In the case of Sigma Life Science, it's getting genetically-modified silkworms to spin spider silk.  Read More

Scientists claim to have recently made progress towards understanding what's behind the in...

When you explore haunted houses or search for sacred artifacts in ancient temples, the cobwebs that you brush out of your way may seem fairly flimsy and inconsequential. For their size, however, spider silk fibers are incredibly strong – enough so that scientists have long been trying to figure out what their secret is, so it can be applied to man-made materials. In a recently-published paper, German scientists claim to have gotten closer to the answer.  Read More

OATS Shoes is launching a line of fully compostable sneakers

People may joke about their dirty old sneakers turning into science projects or mini ecosystems, but once OAT Shoes' compostable sneakers become commercially available within the next several weeks ... let's just say, those same people may no longer be joking when they make those kind of statements. Made using hemp, cork, bio-cotton, certified biodegradable plastics, chlorine-free bleach and other nontoxic materials, the shoes are designed to completely break down when buried in the ground – the first batch will even come with seeds in their tongues, so that wildflowers will sprout up in commemoration of users' planted, expired kicks.  Read More

The INTI study has identified a sustainable process for creating water-soluble natural dye...

Researchers at the Argentine National Institute for Industrial Technology (INTI) are taking a new approach to the manufacture of natural dyes from agricultural waste. The method involves extraction of pigments from waste and conserving them in dust form, meaning they can be dry stored for use all year round. Over the past year numerous agricultural materials have been tested with one of the most promising candidates being peanut shells – one of Argentina's main exports.  Read More

Platinum Dirt has launched a line of custom leather jackets, made from classic car upholst...

Launching a new clothing collection, Platinum Dirt might have just recreated the meaning of the word "vintage." Dustin Page, designer, producer and tailor, has created a range of jackets made of recycled leather from classic cars. Each jacket is one-of-a-kind, made from the leather interiors of old Cadillacs, Lincolns, BMWs, Mercedes and Jaguars (just to name a few). As an added cute touch, the VIN plate from the original vehicle is embedded on the chest of each jacket.  Read More

A boll of cotton matures in the field  (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips...

Cotton has held an important significance for mankind for thousands of years. Not only are all parts of the cotton plant economically useful, but the multitude of uses and processes it can be put to make it America's number one value-added crop. Over the years we have crushed and extruded and woven cotton into many forms, but even today scientists and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we use cotton; from reducing pollution, insulating homes, and cleaning up oil spills to feeding the hungry. Here's a look at seven new companies being championed for their sustainability by Cotton Incorporated.  Read More

Teijin's new lightweight firefighting suit

Japanese manufacturer Teijin, in cooperation with firefighting apparel maker Akao Co. Ltd., has announced the development of new firefighting suit that reportedly sets new world standards in both protection from extreme heat and lightweight wearability. Made from TRIPROTECH aramid fibers, Teijin's new suit consists of multiple key layers with even more clever monikers to boot, like GBARRIERLIGHT, TECHWAVE, and TECHNORA. The technical details of the layers' composition are somewhat hairy, but the upshot is that Teijin's improved aramid fibers have resulted in a firefighting suit that weights only 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and is 60 percent more effective in preventing burns than the company's prior lightweight suits.  Read More

Hilde Faerevik (left) and the SINTEF Safe@Sea team

Working as a commercial fisherman is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. There are numerous ways in which they can end up in the water, with their shipmates (if they even have any) not noticing until it’s too late. That, or their boat can simply sink. In any case, fishermen need all the help they can get when it comes to safety, so a 14-group research consortium is developing “intelligent clothing” for them to wear at sea.  Read More

The auxetic blast-proof curtain being put to the test

OK, so first of all, how can a fabric possibly get thicker when stretched? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics? Not, it turns out, when that material is auxetic. Cat skin and shin bones also apparently possess this quality. The University of Exteter, in collaboration with their spin-off company Auxetix Ltd, have developed an auxetic blast-proof curtain. If a bomb were to go off near such a curtain, the pressure wave would stretch the fabric outwards, thus thickening it and making it better able to hold back flying glass and other debris. The curtain is intended to be fitted over windows of buildings that are terrorist targets, or that are subject to events such as hurricanes.  Read More

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