Next Generation Schutztextilien | NGST

The corona pandemic poses numerous problems for our society, and adequate protective equipment plays a crucial role in solving them. The product spectrum ranges from simple FFP1 masks, such as those used in the food industry, to higher-performance FFP2 and FFP3 masks for the medical and care sectors, as well as headgear.

Due to the unexpectedly high demand in the initial phase of the pandemic, considerable bottlenecks occurred in all product groups, which were also exacerbated by insufficient production capacities in Germany and the EU. The rushed or accelerated changeovers at EU companies and hastily expanded imports, often led to highly variable product quality, which had a negative impact on safety, but also on wearing comfort.

 

Project »Next Generation Schutztextilien«

To defend against pandemics, Fraunhofer is pooling expertise from different disciplines to bring together innovative materials, production and testing methods. The goal is to make safe and comfortable protective equipment available.

The "Next Generation Schutztextilien (German for protective fabrics), NGST" project addresses these challenges and offers solutions ranging from the development of materials to prototypes of high-quality protective fabrics. These open up a wide range of possible applications and, in the event of future pandemics, can contribute to better preparedness and optimal protection, of both the general population and especially exposed persons, such as care personnel.

Our Goals

  • safe protective fabrics with constant high quality
  • high wearing comfort, especially for long-term wearers
  • efficient production of protective fabrics by national manufacturers of wet-laid nonwovens
  • strengthening of national supply chains

Demonstrators:

  • Respiratory protection mask
  • Headgear

Our Concept

 

MATERIALS

  • Further development of textiles (better protection, higher wearing comfort)
  • antiviral, regenerable coatings (polymers, peptides)
PRODUCTION
  • Pilot plant for the efficient production of wet-laid nonwovens (optimization on a pilot plant scale)

TESTING
  • comprehensive analytics
  • non-destructive quality assurance
  • biological evaluation (ISO18184, DIN EN ISO 10993-5)
  • cross-material and cross-design material diagnostics and functional testing methods
  • methods for VOC and odor analysis for the identification of volatile or odor-active compounds
  • intelligent inspection system for the detection of quality deficits in nonwovens

Applications

  • protective masks, headgear, filters
  • medical sector (doctors, nursing staff)
  • protection of the population
  • antimicrobial/antiviral textiles
    (e.g. in waiting rooms, busses, trains)

 

Do you want to become
a partner?

We develop fabrics for you that protect effectively and are manufactured efficiently.

Contact us!

NGST | Subprojects

  • © Fraunhofer IAP, shutterstock: GraphicsRF.com
    Antiviral and regenerative coating.

    At Fraunhofer IAP, immobilization concepts for antivirally effective, switchable polymer coatings for protective fabrics are being developed.

    Antiviral effect: During use of the fabric, the polymers of the coating are in a collapsed state. When viruses come into contact with the antiviral peptides in the coating, they are deactivated.

    Regeneration of the coating: Warm water causes the polymer coating to swell. Virus residues and other contaminants are removed from the surface. The coating is thus regenerated and the antiviral effect is restored.

    The antivirally active peptides to be integrated are developed at Fraunhofer IZI-BB.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses IZI-BB

  • At Fraunhofer IAP, immobilization concepts for antivirally active, switchable polymer coatings for protective fabrics are being developed.

    Regenerable antiviral coating: Fraunhofer IZI-BB is developing the biologically active component of a regenerable textile coating. For this purpose, antivirally active peptides are used, which are coupled to temperature-switchable polymers from Fraunhofer IAP to generate functional, virucidal and sustainable textiles.

    Biological evaluation: Together with Fraunhofer IBMT and FEP, test methods adapted to the pandemic will be developed to enable inter-laboratory comparable and standardized procedures for the evaluation of a virucidal effect of textile surfaces. In addition, the biocompatibility of the materials is assessed according to standardized test methods.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses IZI-BB 

  • Fraunhofer IBMT is developing SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus systems in the NGST project. In addition, comprehensive biological standard-compliant tests of the materials and coatings are being carried out:

    • antiviral efficacy studies against HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 according to ISO 18184
    • biocompatibility tests according to DIN EN ISO 19993

    Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT

  • At Fraunhofer FEP, technologies are developed for the modification and coating of surfaces which are used for biomedical applications. Currently, the focus is on surface finishings with hygienically effective coatings. Non-thermal, low-energy electron beam technology is used to selectively functionalize a wide variety of materials by grafting processes, thereby imparting them with antimicrobial properties. Low-energy electrons can be used to create adaptive hygienization concepts. Complementary, biocidal material properties can be biologically tested in the biomedical laboratory unit of Fraunhofer FEP.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP

    © Fraunhofer FEP
    REAMODE- Plant for selective surface functionalization by grafting processes.
  • Fraunhofer IST uses various thin-film technology processes to apply carbon-based coatings to fabrics. These are intended to have an antiviral effect and, depending on the technology used, can consist of nanodiamond, carbon/graphene or biobased polyphenolic compounds. The work also includes research using surface analytical methods and tests for washability.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST

  • At Fraunhofer IGCV, a wet-laid nonwoven plant is being specifically modified and expanded for the production of protective fabrics. Novel approaches (e.g., online sensor technology for in-process monitoring; optimized highly efficient system solution for fiber drying; fully integrated central control) are being pursued to increase quality, homogeneity and productivity.

    The integration of the coating processes developed in the project is being conceptually examined. Statements can also be made for subsequent scale up from pilot scale to mass production scale.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV

  • As part of the project, Fraunhofer IBP is developing a demonstrator – including a test stand with measurement technology (in accordance with valid normative specifications) – with all the technical components of a new type of respiratory protection system with a high viral protection effect for carrying out experimental studies.

    Objective: Evaluation of various antiviral filter non-woven fabrics or filter media in respiratory protection systems and other applications, e.g., targeted hygiene of room air through ventilation systems in buildings.

    The following are tested and evaluated in particular

    • the filtration effectiveness of ultrafine particles,
    • the pressure drop of the filter media used,
    • user comfort and
    • durability

    for a subsequent targeted, accelerated development of, for example, optimized PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) products, which are currently not available on the market.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP

    © Fraunhofer IBP
    The demonstrator at Fraunhofer IBP is used to develop suitable respiratory protection systems with a high viral protection effect.
  • Fraunhofer IMWS analyzes the function of new protective fabrics as well as the materials being used.

    Qualification of materials: The institute evaluates – also by developing new test methods – the utilized materials and thus identifies suitable materials for their use in protective fabrics.

    Material diagnostics and functional testing: Safety and health requirements for protective fabrics are determined. High-resolution imaging techniques, breathing resistance, particle retention, speech intelligibility measurements and material modification by means of reactive plasma activation are used for this purpose, for example.

    Mask design and prototyping: Based on virtual design studies, selected design concepts are implemented and evaluated using rapid prototyping technologies.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS

    © Fraunhofer IMWS
    The microstructure of materials has a decisive influence on the performance of protective fabrics.
  • Intelligent quality assurance in the context of 100 percent control is being researched at Fraunhofer IPK. The main challenges here are the high demands placed on textiles in the micro- and nanometer range. To enable fully automated optical inspection during the manufacturing process, a good trade-off between fast image acquisition and highly accurate resolution is needed. Analogously, on the software side, a wide variety of image processing algorithms ranging from classic image processing algorithms to the latest machine learning methods are being tested in order to find all defect patterns in the images with high precision.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK 

  • At Fraunhofer IVV, the wet nonwovens produced in the project and the materials modified by coatings from the partner institutes are examined for volatile interfering substances. The focus here is on odor-active compounds and main components that could have a negative impact on a subsequent application. In addition to classical methods of odor and VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) analysis, a rapid method is being tested for fast and cost-effective testing of the materials.

    Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV

    © Fraunhofer IVV
    Identification of volatile (trace) components by gas chromatography<br/>