The global 19th AUTEX conference celebrated two textile anniversaries in Gent, Belgium. AUTEX, the Association of Universities for Textiles, has achieved 25 years of European and global cooperation. The event hosted by the textile group at Ghent University, which is celebrating 90 years of textile activities.

AUTEX stands for the Association of Universities for Textiles being a worldwide network of textile universities, founded in 1994.  Over the years a strong enlargement took place and the Association currently has 39 members from 30 countries. 
The current chair is Prof. Mirela Blaga from ”Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi in Romania. 
The secretariat is located at Ghent University, Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering. 
The mission of AUTEX is to facilitate co-operation amongst its members in high level textile education and research.  Objectives are to promote the activities and achievements of the member Universities on a European and Global stage, to facilitate research, co-operation in the development and delivery of high-level taught courses and teaching materials, to encourage student and staff mobility and to organise annual symposia to disseminate cutting-edge issues to textile professionals and students.

The 7th Autex Conference in 2007 was organized in Tampere, Finland, hosted by Tampere University of Technology.

The Master of Textile Engineering is a two-year master’s programme in the field of textile engineering. The programme was developed in the framework of and with full support of the Erasmus programme of the European Union. Autex is publishing Quarterly Autex Research Journal, free of charge and open to everyone in member Universities.

The Autex 19th Conference programme included welcome opening speech of “Mr Autex” Prof. Paul Kiekens, Lifetime Achievement Award, and keynote plenary presentation Materials for tomorrow by Dr.  Stalios, DG Research & Innovation. Further key notes were addressed to Future Textile materials by Dr. Shafaat, Fiber R&D Section, Spiber Inc. Japan and New programmable materials systems for biomedicine and highly advanced technologies by Prof. Cherif, TU Dresden, Germany.

Highlights of the plenaries

As some interesting highlights from the versatile plenary programme carbon, functional, and bio-based fibers are referred.

PAN/Lignin blends, with 1008 filaments and 1-20 wt% lignosulfonate, were spun as CF precursors and extensive textile-mechanical investigations were carried out. Batch trials have been successfully performed for different degrees of stabilization.

HDPE-based carbon fibers have been studied and they showed a special three dimensional interconnected microporous structure, which are very promising candidates as cathodes for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. The application of these innovative developed HDPE-based microporous carbon fibers for Li-S batteries is under investigation.

The in situ Raman method can be used to optimise the piezo-electric properties  in manufacture of PVDF fibers. This opens new perspectives for fibers optimization by controlling the evolution of the structure when changing process parameters.

To increase the flexibility of PLA it is possible to add a low molecular weight plasticizer or blending it with a flexible polymer such as poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT). The use of a proper compatibilizer is important for a better modulation of properties thanks to the achievement of a phase morphology haracterized by a lower dimension of the dispersed PBAT phase and an increased adhesion.

The combination of phosphonic acid with aminosilanes is leading to a good flame-retardant finish. By binding the phosphonic acid to a silane the washing resistance is increased. With commercially available amino- or isocyanato-silanes and different phosphor-compounds a broad library of flame retardants was build.

Polyphosphazenes, inorganic rubbers, are well known for their flame retardant properties, depending on their phosphorus-nitrogen backbone. On basis of this knowledge we developed new photo-graftable poly- and cyclophosphazene (PPZ), which is applicable on textiles and give them permanent flame retardant properties. For cotton, PET, PA and blends of them flame retardant effect is achieved. For both classes (silanes and phosphazenes) of flame-retardant materials we find that after the first washing cycle the add-on is stable over six washing cycles.

Continuous filaments were spun from native silk solution and manufactured into three-dimensional fiber-ceramic textile implants using an additive manufacturing process. Cell culture analyses showed good biocompatibility of the implants and an induction of bone differentiation.

Bioabsorbable immiscible polymer blends of poly(D,L-lactide) (PLA) and polycaprolactone (PCL) were studied using  twin screw extrusion in a large range of compositions, from PLA90PCL10 to PLA50PCL50 per 10% slice in order to evaluate the spinnability of these blends. Then multifilaments were immersed in a DMEM media at 50°C during 35 days and their mechanical properties were tested in order to understand the relation between the morphology and the degradation process.

Graphene oxide (GO) fiber shaped materials showed promising light weight as flexible and robust wearable energy storage components. Pristine GO fibers were spun by wet-spinning method and then coated by pyrrole (Py). Promoted by FeCl3, polymerization was completed and polypyrrole (PPy) coated GO fibers served as electrodes and showed a rather high capacity.

Water soluble esterified nanocellulose (ENC) was prepared with various anhydrides in expeditious, yet eco-friendly ways by using deep eutectic solvent (DES), ultrasonic and microwave irradiation. Phthalic anhydride and DES made of oxalic acid and choline chloride were mainly used as a reagent and solvent. Results indicated that shape and size of ENC could be varied by preparation methods. Analyses of ENC suggested that oxalic acid participated as both solvent and reactant, forming various types of anhydrides with reagent and cellulose.

The comparative marine biodegradation of three wool types and four synthetic fibres with which wool were studied via a method based on a standard biodegradability test. We confirmed that wool readily biodegrades in sea water, consistent with earlier findings relating to soil biodegradation. Wool biodegradation appears to progress through phases relating to its composition and microstructure. We are now investigating the effect of standard chemical finishes used on wool fabrics, and the correlation between accelerated laboratory methods and ‘real world’ biodegradation.

 Adsorption is one of the most effective methods used to remove reactive dyes from wastewater and, different adsorbents such as activated carbons, biosorbents and clay minerals can be used for the adsorption. In this study, the adsorption of Reactive Red 141 dye on montmorillonite based commercial organoclay compounds and the organoclay modified with hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide was investigated and a high color removal was observed. The adsorption kinetics were modelled using pseudo first and second order kinetic models. The pseudo-second kinetic model was found the best fitted.

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Next Confrence – AUTEX 20th Conference June 16.-20.2020

Autex 25 and 1st 20 years after the 1st AUTEX Conference, the Centre of Textile Science and Technology of University of Minho – 2C2T – is very pleased to invite you to come again to Portugal, the country where the first edition of the conference took place.

Recognized as a reference among the textile scientific community, the AUTEX conferences gather every year large number of researchers that share their ideas and achievements in various research and educational projects.

Unfolding the future is the moto of the 2020 edition of the Conference that will be held at Guimarães, from the 16th to the 20th June 2020.

At the beginning of this new decade, very important challenges will be faced concerning the sustainability of our planet, that directly impact the textile and fashion business. The Autex2020 Conference will be the right place to unveil and show the novel approaches, concerning materials, technologies and business models, that are being thought and developed.