Techtextil North America

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.

Smart Textiles

Researcher awarded for work on intelligent reinforced concrete pipes

Textile reinforced concrete is lightweight, high-strength and durable and allows the direct integration of sensor technology.

20th January 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Aachen, Germany


In 2020, ITA-doctoral candidate Kira Heins was awarded Hanns Voith Foundation Prize 2020 in the field of New Materials to the tune of € 5,000. Ms Heins received the prize for her Master’s thesis Development and Realisation of Concepts for Manufacturing of Intelligent Textile reinforced Concrete Pipes.

With her work, Ms. Heins is researching the implementation of textile reinforced concrete pipes with leakage detection integrated into the reinforcement for the first time.

Compared to conventional steel-reinforced concrete, high-strength concrete with textile reinforcement is lighter (up to 80%), stronger (up to a factor of 6), more durable (> 80 years) and more resistant against corrosion and is therefore an excellent alternative for conventional building materials. The reduction of concrete and thus cement content by up to 80 percent facilitates a significant contribution to the sustainable use of resources in the construction industry. Conductive fibres as sensors in the textile reinforcement enable the location of leakages. This principle paves the way for the development and production of sustainable water pipe systems made of textile concrete.

Implementation of sensor-integrated textile concrete pipes in the field of drinking water supply

In her Master’s thesis, Ms Heins defined technological and economic requirements for sensors and composite for the application in drinking water supply. On this basis, Ms Heins examined textile configurations, considering factors like costs, industrial availability and processability and carried out practical trials at the ITA. Within her tests she determined a suitable textile architecture, proved the functionality of the integrated senor technology and created the basis for structure component tests with the developed manufacturing concept.


The ceremony for the presentation of the foundation awards in Heidenheim, Germany, planned for 26 June 2020 has fallen victim to the Covid19 pandemic, as has the alternative date of 20 November 2020. The foundation will honour the award-winning work of the prize winners in an appropriate manner at the 2021 award ceremony together with the new prize winners. For further information, please refer to the press release of the Hanns Voith-Foundation from December 2020.

The Hanns Voith Foundation

The Hanns Voith Foundation awards the Hanns Voith-Foundation Prizes for outstanding theses at universities in the fields of engineering, natural sciences and economics. In recent years, the Hanns Voith-Foundation Prize in the category "New Materials" has been awarded several times to ITA doctoral students. ITA-doctoral candidate Martin Scheurer received the award in 2019, ITA-doctoral candidate Magdalena Kimm in 2017, ITA-doctoral candidate Inga Noll in 2016. In 2020, the jury chaired by Prof. Dr. Dr. e.h. Dr. h.c. mult. Sigmar Wittig for the first time awarded three prize winners each for their outstanding work in the fields of paper, new materials, economics, drive technology, digital ventures and hydropower. The awards are intended to raise public awareness of the Hanns Voith Foundation's responsibility for the qualification of academic specialists and managers. In this way, the Hanns Voith Foundation also wants to contribute to Germany as a location for research and education.

ITA Website

Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more