Research in textile science and technology has developed to reflect the expansion of the technical textiles discipline, while still maintaining activity in important traditional textiles. The establishment of the TechniTex Faraday Partnership represents a major achievement and has attracted significant financial support. Technical textiles encompass a wide variety of functional products, and a key area is their application in medical and health care products.
Recently the Biomedical Textiles Research Centre (BTRC) was established within the School. Its research programmes include treatment of fibres for improved biocompatibility in medical and dental applications and the construction of textile-based membranes for cell culture.
There is a specific focus on high performance synthetic fibres. As an example, the study of fibres using high-level instrumental techniques is leading to the development of sensitive non-destructive methods for forensic analysis. Other projects include the use of experimental design techniques to optimise non-woven products for recovery of oil spillage, and the incorporation of liquid crystal polymers into polypropylene for enhanced performance.
Research on traditional fibres is focused on topics vital to the international competitiveness of the high quality, high value sector of the UK textile industry. These include understanding the thermomechanical properties of wool fibres and fabrics, and image analysis to detect specific animal fibre types in blends, of particular importance for monitoring potential fraud in the description of imported fibre batches.