Breakthrough in fabric technology (December 2017)

The industry and research partners involved in DMTC’s Advanced Nanostructured Fabrics project have achieved a major milestone. The team has developed and tested a composite fabric for use in protective suits, filtering harmful airborne particles while maintaining breathability and thermal comfort.

The fabric has a multi-layer textile structure, which stops hazardous CBR substances from travelling into and through the fabric while remaining fully breathable and allowing heat to travel out of the fabric.

A lack of protection from aerosolised hazards has previously been identified as a capability gap in Individual Protective Equipment. Previous systems have relied on employing multiple layers of fabric to provide protection. Studies of existing low-burden protective suits available internationally confirmed the need for Australia to develop its own solution.

In seeking to deliver enhanced protection that far exceeds the performance of current protective suit systems, the team has faced technical challenges in the structure of the fabric solution and in bonding and seam-joining methods. The DMTC solution demonstrates that the individual protective elements can now be combined into a single integrated fabric system with enhanced utility, fit and comfort.

The project is funded through the Defence Innovation Hub. Industry partners are Bruck Textiles and Revolution Fibres, with research expertise provided by the DST Group, CSIRO and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Initial development of the composite technology underpinning Membrane Protective Absorbent Composite Technology – Aerosol-Vapour fabric was previously funded under a DST Group research fellowship that concluded in June 2013.

Having demonstrated the technical characteristics and performance of the new fabric in a laboratory setting, the DMTC team is now focused on further improving thermal comfort and moving toward prototype garment production.

For further information: June 2018 News