Hohenstein Develops EM/IR Radiation Screening Textile Treatment, Upholstery For Improved Hygiene

The Hohenstein Institute, a Germany-based textile research and testing
laboratory, has partnered with ITCF Denkendorf, the Institute for Textile Chemistry and Chemical
Fibers, to develop a textile treatment that effectively screens out both electromagnetic (EM) and
infrared (IR) radiation. Before now, textiles offered protection from either one or the

Indium tin oxide (ITO) — a transparent oxide compound used in smartphone
touchscreens — is integrated into or coated onto man-made fibers to provide the screening effect.
Tests conducted by researchers have shown the treatment is not biologically harmful, and that
textiles treated with ITO are comfortable as well as wash-, abrasion- and

“These novel materials are not only extremely effective at screening radiation
but they also conduct electricity so they are anti-static,” said Dr. Edith Classen, project leader.
“This makes them ideal for use in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for firemen, workers in
foundries and welding workshops, in the semiconductor industry or for maintenance staff working on
telecommunications systems.”

Dr. Classen also anticipates potential domestic and technical textile
applications. “For example, you could imagine making roller blinds which not only screen out solar
radiation in summer to keep the room cool, but at the same time also offer protection from the
electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone masts in the vicinity,” she said. ITO-treated textiles
in military uniforms could make the wearer invisible to IR cameras as well as provide protection
from EM radiation.

In other news, Hohenstein Institute researchers have partnered with two other
Germany-based institutes, the Institute for Wood Technology and the Research Institute of Leather
and Plastic Sheeting, to develop new types of upholstery for use on public transport, car seats,
easy chairs and mattresses that would offer improved hygiene. The groups are researching the link
between moisture accumulation and the colonization of bacteria or fungi, and plan to create
guidelines for material selection and structural designs that would help transport moisture out of
the upholstery.

December 21, 2010