ECOMATEX: Research and development of technical, functional, sustainable materials applicable to Green Cities

The main objective of the ECOMATEX project is to undertake research and development in the area of technical, functional, sustainable materials (textiles, composite materials or materials with an inorganic matrix) applicable to the Green City concept.

Through the ECOMATEX project, AITEX is working on the research and provision of alternative materials to those commonly used in sectors such as construction, and providing these materials with enhanced features in terms of utility and environmental protection. The project thus reinforces the use of sustainable materials.

A significant line of research within the ECOMATEX project is the development of composite materials from wastes of different types. Work has been carried out on the production of both non-woven material using Wet-Laid technology, and laminated products using pomace waste and Posidonia Oceanica fibre.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the recovery and reuse of different types of industrial and agricultural waste. The aim is to add value to this waste, in accordance with the increased social emphasis on the environment, waste disposal and the depletion of non-renewable resources. Combining biodegradable polymers with natural fibres, be they animal, mineral or vegetable, opens up a wide range of possibilities in the area of composite, eco-friendly materials of great utility in everyday products for sectors such as interior decoration and construction, etc. Promoting the use of fibres from natural waste or different industrial processes is of great interest in terms of the recovery of this waste.

With respect to pomace waste recovery, AITEX has worked on the development of non-woven textiles through the implementation of Wet-Laid technology. The correct development of non-woven textiles requires the use of fibres of varying lengths ranging from 3 to 20 mm. The process has a number of stages that require optimisation: adequate dispersion in an aqueous medium, optimisation of percentages, optimisation of working temperature, study of the process for the formation and thermal consolidation of the non-woven material, and an adequate calendaring process.

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Article published in: FuturENVIRO #34 October2016