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Beyond the Bale : Oct 07 - Nov 07
Woollen clothes that change colour in the sun and provide protection from harmful UV rays could be the next fashion trend following a research breakthrough at Victoria's Deakin University. Tong Cheng, a PhD student with Deakin's Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation, has developed a way of colouring wool with photochromic dye. Photochromic products undergo a colour change when exposed to UV radiation. However, photochromic dyes and wool are incompatible with traditional dyeing methods. Ms Cheng, under the supervision of Deakin's Dr Tong Lin and Dr Rex Brady, has created a polymer with a large number of tiny pores that hold and trap the photochromic dye and this is then applied to the surface of wool fibres. Dr Brady says Ms Cheng had to solve some very challenging technical issues to ensure that the pores in the polymer were just the right size: "If they were too large, for example, the dye would seep out," Dr Brady says. "It was also important that the polymer allowed the colour change for the dye to take place quickly. This she has achieved." To ensure marketability of any clothes produced with this technique, the polymer must not interfere with the feel of the wool and needs to be durable and colour-fast. Ms Cheng says she has achieved this, and it is impossible to notice the difference between ordinary wool fabric and fabric coated with the polymer: "The fabric maintains its softness and drape, and the colour is preser ved when washed." The technology could see the development of products such as wool t-shirts that reveal their patterns only when worn outside or in a discotheque with black (UV) lights: "Having patterns appear this way also opens up novel marketing and fashion opportunities." An unexpected bonus with the polymer coating is its UV protection quality, Ms Cheng says. "We have found that the polymer absorbs potentially harmful UV rays in sunlight. When applied to wool, these polymers enhance the fibre's natural UV absorption, further increasing the SPF (sun protection factor) afforded by wool garments. Initial tests have shown these rays are almost totally blocked." Ms Cheng's research has been funded by the China--Australia Wool Innovation Network (CAWIN) program -- a partnership between AWI and Deakin University. The significance of her work has been recognised with two recent awards: Materials Australia's prestigious 2006 Borland Forum Award and the 2007 AWI/ DWI Award for Excellence in Wool Science (DWI is the German Wool Research Institute). ú More information: www.deakin.edu.au Dye breakthrough adds to wool's colour charm PhD student Tong Cheng has discovered a way to dye wool so it changes colour in the sun or when exposed to UV radiation -- and won some awards in the process Course lifts wool textiles knowledge People who are interested in advancing their knowledge and skills in processing Australian wool are being urged to attend courses run by the Australian Wool Textiles Training Centre (AWTTC) during November. The courses are aimed at all sectors of the wool industry including growers, brokers, buyers, service providers, processors and manufacturers, designers, retailers and merchandisers. The AWTTC has been established as a partnership between AWI, the International Fibre Centre and the Australian Wool Education Trust.The AWTTC program will be delivered at the world-class CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology facility in Geelong,Victoria.This unique training program has been developed by a cast of industry experts, educators and researchers. The six available courses are: ú Course1 -- Introduction to the Australian wool industry (12-14 November); ú Course 2 -- Buying and consignment preparation of Australian wool (15-16 November); ú Course 3 -- Wool topmaking and early-stage processing (19-23 November); ú Course 4 -- Contemporary wool dyeing and finishing (12-16 November); ú Course 5 -- Innovations in wool textile technology (19-21 November); and ú Course 6 -- Australian wool: knowledge for retailers and designers (22-23 November). Presentations will be made by internationally recognised researchers and industry experts, including leading figures from wool-buying, processing, textile and garment manufacturing and retail organisations. A feature of this program is practical demonstrations and site visits to complement the many presentations. Lectures and course material will be presented in English, but Chinese translation will be provided for Course 3. Chinese language translation support will be available for clarification of specific issues and questions by Chinese participants. This is the second running of the courses. More than 100 people participated in the inaugural AWTTC program held last year, with the attendees -- representing all sectors of the wool processing pipeline -- coming from as far afield as China and India to gain a greater understanding of specific processes and market sectors. Online registration and payment is available via the AWTTC website. These courses will provide intensive, practically oriented training specially designed to meet industry needs.The initiative will deliver wide-ranging benefits for the Australian wool industry as the courses have been designed to arrest an international decline in technical wool education and a potential global skills shortage in the wool textile industry. ú More information: www.awttc.com.au or www.awttc.com.cn (Chinese) 20 TEXTILES BEYOND THE BALE Tong Cheng illustrates the color- changing properties of wool fabric using the technology she has developed. PHOTO: DEAKIN UNIVERSITY Participants learning about wool processing at one of last year's AWTTC courses.
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Dec - Jan 08