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Two new R&D projects for technical textile launched in France
October 15, 2012 (France)

Two new R&D projects have just been launched: BATIR and BIONICOMP, financed by the 14th government fund for projects.

BATIR aims to develop an innovative cold-plasma surface treatment at atmospheric pressure on an industrial scale. This is to increase the functional performance of flexible materials and expand the range of potential applications.

At the heart of this project, is the optimisation of surface treatment, with a significant increase in processing speed, lower costs and ease of integration into production lines. The technology will improve the adhesion properties of thin films and surface functionalisation through new high-performance and eco-efficient processes.

Three applications are targeted, namely: technical textiles, photovoltaic cells and polymer films. In fact, flexible functionalised supports are, and will be, increasingly present in many sectors. For example, packaging, lamination, labels, posters, signs, lighting, OLEDs, photovoltaic panels, printed electronics, etc. Flexible electronics based on polymer film techniques have a great potential for use in many technological and innovative applications.

BATIR is a group of eight partners - four firms (SMEs), three university research laboratories and one technical centre - located in the regions of Aquitaine, Centre, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Rhône-Alpes. Total budget: €2 million; co-labelled by the innovation clusters: CapEnergies (leader), Derbi, Cosmetic Valley and Techtera.

The BIONICOMP R&D project aims to improve the performance of composites reinforced with natural fibre and thermosetting elastomer matrices. This uses a grafting technique activated by ionisation to optimise the fibre/matrix bond. The overall objective of the project is to enable biosourced composites - based on flax for example - to compete with the performance of "traditional" glass fibre composites, offering materials that are lighter in weight with less impact on the environment. The results obtained in laboratory by the project teams will be tested on industrial demonstrators.

The markets targeted cover the entire high-performance composite industry:
- There is great demand in transport for biosourced innovations for various applications (interior lining for aircraft and vehicles, aircraft fairing, etc), providing reductions in weight and savings on fuel, as well as optimising the absorption of vibration and sound insulation.
- Technical textiles for decorative or protective purposes (street furniture, flexible membranes).
- Sport & recreation.

In addition to the technical and environmental issues of the project, there is a strong economic factor: the emergence of new markets, long-term establishment of industries, development of agro-resources, etc. With 80% of production, France is the largest producer of plant fibre in Europe.

The environmental benefits of the project will be measured by a Life Cycle Analysis.

BIONICOMP consists of seven partners - five manufacturers and two research laboratories. Ionisos, project organiser and member of Techtera, located on three sites in France including one in Dagneux (01), is a leader in carrying out ionising radiation treatment for other firms.

Total project budget: €3.2 million; co-labelled by the innovation clusters: Axelera (leader), IAR, Plastipolis and Techtera

The work planned for these two R&D projects will start in autumn for a period of three years.

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