(Source: FET/Rheo Labs)
Backed by a £173,000 grant from Innovate UK for feasibility studies, Rheon Labs has now completed an extensive 6-month trial with FET, a leader in laboratory and pilot meltspinning equipment. Materials technology company Rheon Labs, London/UK, has further developed its Rheon technology, a reactive polymer that dynamically stiffens when subjected to force. The technology can control energy of any amplitude or frequency, from small vibrations to forces at ballistic-speeds and therefore has a wide range of applications.
This Innovate UK Smart Grant-backed project aims to develop a hyper viscoelastic fiber from Rheon which displays high strain-rate sensitive properties. Creating a fiber with unique strain-rate sensitive properties will enable the creation of a new generation of stretch textiles that can actively absorb, dampen and control energy during movement, rather than simply acting as a spring. The textiles would have a multitude of beneficial properties and would provide significantly less compression in the garment than conventional materials, substantially improving user comfort, support and performance.
For close-fitting activewear and sports bras, the ability to actively control muscle mass or soft tissue movement during exercise will be a game-changing advancement. It will allow brands to engineer garments that relax during everyday use but actively stiffen during exercise for improved support and performance.
The Innovate UK grant was awarded under the category of Hyper-Viscoelastic Fiber Extrusion for Textile Manufacture. Fibre Extrusion Technology Ltd. (FET), Leeds/UK, enabled the customer trials at its Fiber Development Centre using its in-house FET-103 Monofilament meltspinning facilities.
The next phase will be to upscale the trials of preferred materials on Rheon’s own new FET-103 meltspinning line, with FET’s continued support and expertise on hand.