Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Zeolite-modified fibre-forming polymers ; fabrication, characterization and application

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.14.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Textile and leather   

Code Science Field
T470  Technological sciences  Textiles technology 

Code Science Field
2.05  Engineering and Technology  Materials engineering 
Fibre-forming polymers; zeolites; surface modification; incorporation into filament; optimization; malodour absorption; protective clothes;
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  07004  PhD Darinka Fakin  Textile and leather  Researcher  2014 - 2017  327 
2.  34526  PhD Tomaž Fakin  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  28 
3.  14756  Ivan Goznik  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2014 - 2015 
4.  14667  PhD Andrej Horvat  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  47 
5.  27558  PhD Silvo Hribernik  Textile and leather  Researcher  2014 - 2017  295 
6.  28108  Denis Jahič  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2014 - 2017 
7.  28976  Tanja Kos    Technical associate  2014  42 
8.  24332  PhD Manja Kurečič  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  227 
9.  25023  PhD Matjaž Mazaj  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  285 
10.  21375  PhD Mašenka Mikuž  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2014 - 2017  21 
11.  22407  PhD Alenka Ojstršek  Textile and leather  Researcher  2014 - 2017  209 
12.  17274  Mojca Opresnik    Technical associate  2014 - 2017  25 
13.  19268  PhD Zdenka Peršin Fratnik  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  225 
14.  15790  PhD Alenka Ristić  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  267 
15.  04171  PhD Majda Sfiligoj Smole  Textile and leather  Researcher  2014 - 2017  433 
16.  19413  Marinka Sorčič  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017 
17.  07814  PhD Karin Stana Kleinschek  Textile and leather  Head  2014 - 2017  1,116 
18.  14120  PhD Nataša Zabukovec Logar  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2017  533 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,444 
2.  0795  University ob Maribor, Faculty of mechanical engineering  Maribor  5089638010  23,837 
3.  1531  SILKEM, proizvodnja zeolitov, d.o.o. (Slovene)  Kidričevo  5584060  143 
4.  1942  AquafilSLO Proizvodnja poliamidnih filamentov in granulatov d.o.o. (Slovene)  Ljubljana  5005485000  87 
In the proposed project, various procedures will be developed for modifications of different fibre-forming polymers by selected/synthesized zeolites, and thus novel materials with multifunctional properties will be prepared for special purposes, providing a higher level of economic growth. The experts from the Silkem collaborating company (a well-known European manufacturer of raw materials for the detergent and chemical industries, and refractory materials in the ceramic industry, etc.) together with a project consortium will synthesize on the semi-industrial reactor up to 200 kg of zeolites with adequate morphology for: i)  permanent surface modification of fibre-forming polymers (covalent bonding), and ii) admixture into polymer filament, preferentially polyamide 6 of the Julon collaborating company, which is part of the Aqafil group (the second larger global player in the production of filaments for textile floorings, and the principal supplier of filaments for high-tech sportswear, swimwear, and underwear). Spinning in the test and industrial scale will be accomplished on a modern spinning line for the production of partially oriented yarn. Zeolites will be characterized in regard to their morphology and structure, particle and pore sizes, crystals formation, chemical composition of the particles’ surfaces, chemical bond action, etc. using various methods such as SEM, TEM, XPS, SAXS/WAXS, XRD, XRF, FTIR/Raman spectroscopy, Zeta potential measurement, etc. During the second work package, various textiles made from synthetic as well as natural fibres will be selected, analysed, and pre-treated according to different procedures in order to activate the surface and thus, increase the accessibility and reactivity. The activation could influence the physical-chemical, mechanical and materials’ sorption properties, and consequently, the coating and binding abilities of zeolite particles. Additionally, a process for durable zeolites application onto textile materials will be developed by addition of various bonding agents, and where the bonding mechanism will be precise studied using FTIR spectroscopy. Also, the adequacy of combining zeolite application with standard finishing procedures will be evaluated. Herein, the influence of process parameters will be studied regarding durability after repeated washing. Selected procedures will be optimized by means of basic statistical methods and chosen techniques of multivariate analyses. Surface activity and the morphological properties of fibres will be characterized using XPS, tensiometry, SEM, TEM, polyelectrolyte titration, electrophoretic mobility and contact-angle measurements. The zeolites will also be incorporated within a polymer matrix during spinning. In order to investigate the interactions between zeolites and polymer, rheological measurements (viscosity, density, etc.) will be accomplished, and the intrinsic viscoelastic behaviours of polymers with different concentrations of zeolites will be evaluated. The overall objective of the research is to synthesize zeolite particles with desired type of crystalline structure and superior adsorption capacity for permanent functional modification of different fibre-forming polymer surfaces, and for incorporation into polyamide yarn before spinning. The industrially-applicable, ecologically and economically acceptable procedure will be developed and optimized for particles application. Moreover, the feasibility of using newly-developed zeolite-modified fibrous materials for different purposes will be evaluated; the emphasis being given to those materials with enlarged ability for malodour adsorption (for indoor decoration, sports, socks, etc.), materials for protective clothing (with enhanced thermal-stability, UV protection, antimicrobial activity, and antioxidative properties), and materials for pollutant reduction into biological wastewater treatment systems.
Significance for science
During the proposed research, the modification of selected fibre-forming polymers was performed according to various procedures: i) by admixture of synthesized zeolite particles into the polymer matrix before spinning, and ii) by different surface coating strategies using zeolite particles in order to introduce novel functionalities in the material; to enlarge the adsorption ability of unpleasant odours, thermal-stability and flame-retardant properties, and protection against UV radiation, whilst retaining materials’ good physical-mechanical properties such as breaking strength, elasticity, air permeability, handle, etc. New findings according to a defined experimental plan contributed to the enrichments of fundamental knowledge (correlation between reactivity, structure and surface properties) as well as applicable knowledge from this area (introduction of new stable structures and testing methods, and the development of new technologies), and to the development of new materials with multi-functional properties for diverse application purposes (protective clothing, adsorption of malodour, elimination of various organic molecules and pollutants, etc.). Using the combination of numerous sophisticated analytical methods and experimental techniques (XPS, XRF, SEM, TEM, tensiometry, FTIR/Raman, polyelectrolyte titration, electrophoretic mobility and contact angle measurement) leaded to a better understanding of what happens during the surface modification of fibre-forming polymers, as well as explaining the properties of zeolite-incorporated polymers. The established database, as an outcome of the proposed project, provides useful information regarding optimal technological solutions in the case of permanent functionalization of different fibre-forming polymers by zeolites. The results of this project were published in 2 original scientific papers; one in an international journal indexed by SCI Expanded and SSCI (based on the impact factor) and one in Slovenian textile journal Tekstilec, which covers the field of textile industry where this successfully realized project is fit in. The project results were also presented in 7 contributions at international conferences world-wide, which represent important scientific contribution both on national and international research field. Thus, the experiences and ideas were shared with foreign experts in the field of functionalization of numerous fibre-forming materials, enhancing the possibility for submitting research proposals for bilateral programmes and EU funding programmes.
Significance for the country
Preserving part of the innovative and high-tech industry is deemed to be essential for sustainable socio-economic development of Slovenia. Attaining this goal, the extensive cooperation of different research groups from universities, institutes and industries, each of them already accomplished with extensive expertise in their own respective fields was necessary. In this way we could suspect a better flow of information and potential networking between industrial partners, which will help Slovenian industry in breakthrough on the global markets. In a practical manner, this research represents a step in the direction of novel products’ synthases of the Silkem collaborating company for special application fields, thus increasing its market share in a segment of high-added value and high-tech products in Slovenia and on international trade markets, which is in accordance with the strategic direction of the company (efforts for continuous development and improvements by raising the quality). The correlations between the textile and polymer chemistry, and physical-chemical knowledge or approaches were also enabled the development of novel zeolite-based polyamide filament within the Julon collaborating company, responding to the latest fashion trends, and the demands for high-tech clothing and sportswear. The mission of the Aquafil Group (part of which is Julon) is to be the global leader in the production of synthetic fibres, especially of Polyamide 6, and a key player in the sustainable development of innovative solutions in the swimwear, underwear, and sportswear sectors by investments in growth and excellence. This means keeping and gaining new customers, which would result in an increase in economic business for both companies. The technology developed during this project could also be applied in other industrial fields in Slovenia such as the paper and chemical industry, and pharmacy. Finally, the dissemination of the project’s results was focused on different objectives (to raise awareness, to inform, to engage, to promote), and was designed for different groups, e.g. the scientific community, potential industrial users, interested consumers, etc.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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