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Textiles needed for a mission to Mars

Techtextil and Texprocess present ‘Living in Space’ in cooperation with ESA and DLR.

27th April 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Frankfurt

Transport/​Aerospace, Construction, Clothing/​Footwear, Medical/Hygiene

A large amount of material has to be transported for a journey into space – and technical textiles account for a large proportion of them. Examples of the parts and products in which they are to be found will be on show at the Living in Space exhibition during this year’s Techtextil and Texprocess, taking place next month.

The area has been organised by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Among the exhibits to be seen are materials and technologies from Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors in a Material Gallery, architecture for space by Ben van Berkel, space-inspired fashions and an original Mars Rover. Visitors can also take a journey through space to Mars via virtual-reality glasses.

“At the Living in Space exhibition, Techtextil and Texprocess visitors can see examples of textile materials and processing technologies in an application-oriented setting. In cooperation with our partners and exhibitors, we have created an informative and entertaining area, the like of which has never been seen before at Techtextil and Texprocess,” explained Michael Jänecke, Brand Manager, Technical Textiles and Textile Processing, Messe Frankfurt.

Ideal homes in space

Visitors can get an idea of how building in space could function at the Architecture area. Lightweight construction and canopy specialist MDT-tex joined forces with star architect Ben van Berkel of the international UNStudio firm of architects to create a Space Habitat especially for Techtextil.

Spacer fabric. © Karl Mayer Textilmaschinenfabrik

Comprising 60 individual modules, each of which is double twisted and under tension, the lightweight pavilion has an area of 40 square metres and consists of specially designed aluminium profiles covered with PTFE sheets. MDT-tex designed the fabric especially for the pavilion in an extremely light grammage without sacrificing its high-temperature resistance and technical properties.

High-tech fashion in orbit

Space-wear should not only protect the wearer from extreme temperatures but also regulate their body temperature, drain off moisture and be durable and easy to clean. At the Clothing segment of the exhibition, the ESMOD Fashion School from Berlin presents outfits made by students within the framework of the Couture in Orbit project (2015/2016), which was organised by ESA and the London Science Museum.

Project Spacetex Dynamic Space. © Hohenstein Textile Institutes

Additionally, the centre of the Politecnico di Milano (Milan University) presents outfits from the follow-up project, Fashion in Orbit under the scientific supervision of Annalisa Dominoni and the technical supervision of Benedetto Quaquaro in cooperation with ESA and garment manufacturer Colmar.

The Hohenstein Textile Institutes present two models from the Spacetex research project, within the framework of which astronaut Alexander Gerst tested the interaction of body, apparel and climate under conditions of weightlessness during the Blue Dot mission.

Material Gallery: fibres for space

In addition to the exhibits at the special exhibition, around 40 Techtextil and Texprocess exhibitors offer ideas for fibre-based materials and processing technology suitable for use in space in a Material Gallery. For the Civilization segment, they include spacer fabrics for growing vegetables, for Mobility a carbon yarn, which was used to make a fairing for the solid-fuel booster rocket of the Ariane 6.

Astronaut André Kuipers with textile transportation bags at ISS. © University College Ghent

The Material Gallery also shows fibre-composite structures made of carbon fibres, such as a robot arm, a whole-body suit that transmits the wearer’s movements to a 3D model in real-time, functional apparel textiles with flame-retardant, anti-bacterial and temperature-regulating properties, and membrane systems for ventilating aircraft.

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