News article

01/04/2007

Nonwovens Research Academy 2007 – Students and industry innovating together

Hosted by Centre for Technical Textiles, University of Leeds, EDANA’s third edition of the Nonwovens Research Academy (NRA) on 29th-30th March 2007 brought together 114 students and industry R&D experts from 17 countries, representing 36 companies and 22 research centres.
Hosted by Centre for Technical Textiles, University of Leeds, EDANA’s third edition of the Nonwovens Research Academy (NRA) on 29th-30th March 2007 brought together 114 students and industry R&D experts from 17 countries, representing 36 companies and 22 research centres.

The Academy, which was launched at INDEX 05, is dedicated to bringing together an interdisciplinary group of academics, students, researchers, scientists and engineers to present and disseminate pre-competitive and post-competitive research studies relevant to the growth of the nonwoven industry in the future.

The nonwovens industry has recognised that more needs to be done to attract and retain top-grade graduates, so the focus of this year’s Academy was clearly on students.

The programme

The Academy programme, which covered a diverse range of subjects, featured 13 papers by authoritative academics, researchers and industry experts.  The papers presented were:
Nonwovens Processes
  • Spunbonded nonwovens made from splittable bi-component filaments
  • Controlled delivery of liquids from hydroentangled fabrics to targeted surfaces
  • Cellulose meltblown nonwovens based on the Lyocell-process
  • Cellulosic nonwovens according to the Nanoval-process
Measurement, Characterisation and Modelling
  • Mechanical characterisation of through-air bonded nonwoven structures
  • A new method for measuring friction between nonwoven materials and skin
  • Measurement of nonwoven web uniformity using image analysis: overview and comparison
Bio-materials and Renewable Resources
  • Biomaterials, beyond buzzwords and marketing tools
  • Ecological method of manufacture of multifilament cellulose
  • Study of polylactide properties – Applications to nonwovens
Finishing Treatments and Raw Materials Development
  • PVD-Coating – a new solution for antistatic finishing of temperature resistant nonwovens
  • A safe, durable and easy-to-apply antimicrobial technology for nonwovens
  • Three generations of the lyocell type fibres

“Biomaterials, beyond buzzwords and marketing tools”, presented by Gloria Vendrell, Total Petrochemicals Corporate Research of Feluy (Belgium) was rated best paper of the NRA 07 by participants.

After a useful review of the often confused concepts of renewable origin and biodegradability, Gloria Vendrell reminded the participants of the need to consider the whole life-cycle of products, using recognised international LCA standard methodology, when comparing their environmental impact.   On this basis she presented data showing unexpected energy balances of renewable materials as opposed to fossil-based ones.  The paper also included an up-to-date review of existing and upcoming production capacities of polymers based on renewable resources.

Highlights

In line with its objective of rotating internationally on an annual basis between centres of nonwovens excellence, both students and industry professionals took advantage of being in Leeds to participate in a tour of the University’s extensive research facilities.

An additional bonus for participants was EDANA’s first ever nonwovens fashion show. 
Organised by the students of Leeds University, the innovative presentation of the collection of dresses, ball gowns, blouses and suits gave a taste of how nonwovens is certainly a model material for the cat walk and High Street stores.

R&D Student Grant

This year 11 MSc and PhD students from 7 different European universities, studying in the field of nonwovens and related areas, were awarded the R&D student grant, which was launched at the second edition of the Nonwovens Research Academy last year. The grant for the winning students, pictured above/below: on the right/left, covered their travel, accommodation, and participation fee in the Nonwovens Research Academy. 

  • Mr Till Batt, Reutlingen University, Germany
  • Ms Gleny Chirma, University of Bolton, United Kingdom
  • Mr Xiaonan Hou, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
  • Ms Sabine Käse, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Ms Rina Khanum, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • Mr Kolos  Molnàr, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,  Hungary
  • Mr Leonard Cyrille Simeu Nankam, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  • Mr Murat  Peksen , Loughborough University, United Kingdom
  • Mr Chritoph Rieger, Reutlingen University, Germany
  • Mr Balàzs  Tóth, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering,  Hungary
  • Ms Sabrina Zobel, Institut für Textiltechnik der RWTH Aachen, Germany

Jean-Michel Anspach, Technical and Education Director of EDANA, commented on this second edition of the Nonwoven Research Academy, ‘The feedback from students, researchers and industry members alike has been very encouraging.  The general consensus is that the Academy is fulfilling its aim of providing a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas and research results, which will ultimately lead to enhanced technical knowledge and innovation, and will foster the long-term growth and survival of the nonwovens industry.’

The next edition of the Nonwovens Research Academy will take place next year in Germany. The dates will be communicated shortly.

For further information/logos/photos of NRA 2007, please contact:
Catherine Lennon, Communications Director, EDANA
Telephone: +32 2 734 93 10 / Fax: +32 2 733 35 18
E-mail: Catherine.lennon@edana.org
Website: www.edana.org
EDANA | Avenue Herrmann Debroux 46-B-1160 Brussels, Belgium | Tel: +32 2 734 93 10