Fabulous fabrics

Yorkshire Forward has invested £165k in the Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute to allow researchers there to pursue the development of a novel fabric.

Yorkshire Forward has invested £165k in the Leeds-based Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) to allow researchers there to pursue the development of a novel fabric that may have many commercial uses ranging from medical to protective clothing.

The so-called ‘Hydrospace’ fabric is a new and unique non-woven fabric which has channels running throughout that can be filled with liquids, gels or solid particles.

The researchers believe that the new fabric could be used in a myriad of applications, from industrial and domestic wipes to protective clothing, shields and blinds.

Chris Fowler, managing director of NIRI, said: ‘Hydrospace provides a controlled storage and delivery mechanism for numerous active ingredients. It is simple to manufacture and is relevant to many markets and applications.

‘Of particular interest is the potential for Hydrospace to improve filters that remove harmful pathogens and toxins from blood.’

Hydrospace fabrics are made using a process called hydroentanglement which involves fibres being blasted with high pressure water jets which bond them together.

NIRI was formed in 2005 as a Leeds University spin-out company. Since the spin-out, NIRI has developed its own range of products including self-cleaning infection control surfaces and slash resistant roller blinds, both of which will be launched this year.