Self-repairing polymers, sensitive textiles
New industrial materials are a major focus at Research & Technology. Fascinating new examples of interactive materials can be found at the Bionics and Textile Solutions displays.26 Jan 2016
"Nature is the most successful innovator of all times," says Dr. Rainer Erb, Managing Director of the bionics skills network BIOKON. "Bionics is important in developing functional, adaptive, resource-efficient materials that are nonhazardous to humans and the environment," says Erb, who is coordinating the Bionics cluster at Research & Technology .
As an example of extremely efficient materials inspired by nature Erb refers to the artificially manufactured spider silk BioSteel. "This is 25 times stronger than similar steel wire and is significantly more elastic than nylon." In addition, this biological material can adapt to changing environmental conditions and possesses effective mechanisms to regenerate and repair itself. "Based on this, bionics engineers have developed interactive impact and puncture protection for self-repairing polymer materials. This opens up exciting new opportunities for many industries," says the Managing Director of BIOKON.
New materials have always been a focus of Research & Technology. Examples of these are provided by the Textile Solutions themed presentation that showcases engineering textiles and their features. Exhibitors in Hall 2 use practical examples to show what can be done with fibers, filaments and fabrics. Flexibility, low weight, breathability, weather resistance and extreme resilience ensure that high tech textiles can be put to considerable use. Along with architecture, the automotive and aeronautics sectors, and medical and environmental engineering more and more industries are developing applications for these textiles. Companies in the textile industry increasingly see themselves as solution-oriented suppliers for technical and industrial applications such as filters, fiber-reinforced building components, geotextiles and tapes.
"Textiles can do so much more," says management consultant Andreas Beuster, who is organizing the group pavilion at the theme park. "Using integrated microelectronics and electric conductive structures it is possible to give flexible materials unique additional functions," explains Beuster in reference to data transmission, heating, and sensor systems.
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