Deakin Research

Institute for Frontier Materials

Performance and Functional Textiles

Project Examples


The applications of performance and functional textiles have been expanding rapidly. These textiles have enhanced performance attributes and functionalities over commodity textiles, and are used in areas such as -

  • Protective garments (eg. ballistic and stab resistant fabrics, UV protective wear)
  • Functional fabrics (eg. photochromic textiles)
  • Textiles for acoustic applications (eg. in automotives)
  • Smart and electronic textiles (eg. fabric sensors and actuators)

According to textile intelligence, performance textiles represent one of the fastest growing sectors of the international textile and clothing industry. It was estimated that In the European Union, the sports market alone is worth over Euro 37 billion. In the USA it is worth around US$46 billion

At CMFI, we have several on-going projects in this area, supported by the Australian Research Council, Micronisers P/L, Australian Wool Innovation Limited, and the International Fibre Centre.

Photochromic textiles

Photochromic textiles change colour when exposed to UV light and revert to their original colour in the absence of UV. We have developed a technique that imparts fabric with very quick photochromic response and good colour fastness.

Optical absorption of a photochromic fabric with and without UV irradiation   Colour change under normal sunlight
Figure: (Left) Optical absorption of a photochromic fabric with and without UV irradiation, (right) Colour change under normal sunlight (The pictures were recorded at 0.5 second intervals from a to f in sequence).

Surface functionalisation

We can functionalise the surface different substrates with a number of techniques, including plasma treatment.

UV protective textiles

Ultraviolet radiation, with wavelengths ranging from 280 - 400 nm, has significant detrimental effects on both synthetic and natural fibres. We are developing improved ways for UV protection of a range of textile substrates, through incorporation of nanoparticles into synthetic fibres or coating a substrate with a thin layer of nano particles.

Stab resistant fabrics

Various stab and ballistic resistant garments are worn by police, soldiers, prison corrections officers and other types of security, military and law enforcement personnel. We model and simulate the behaviour of a sharp implement penetrating different fabric structures to help develop better stab resistant fabrics.

Project Examples

Photochromic Wool Fabrics from Nano-Porous Silica Coating - T. Cheng

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

19th February 2012