Cetemmsa, a technology center located in Barcelona, Spain, that carries out research on smart materials and smart devices, uses this image to represent SAFEPROTEX on its projects online page.

Highly Protective Clothing Project Making Strides

The first few months of work done by participants in the European Commission-funded SAFEPROTEX project were devoted to trials of nanoparticles and self-cleaning, antimicrobial fibers.

A European Commission-funded project to develop highly effective protective clothing for emergency responders is making progress, according to the second newsletter from the SAFEPROTEX project. The Feb. 1-2 PPE Conference 2011 in Brussels included a presentation about the project's early activities.

The project is funded with 4.22 million euros and began April 1, 2010, with a planned duration of 42 months. Early activities included feasibility trials for producing modified PEEK (poly(ether) ether ketone) fibers, which would exhibit self-cleaning and antimicrobial properties, and preliminary trials to optimize the dispersion of nanoparticles in polymer master-batches. SAFEPROTEX, which involves 18 partner organizations from across Europe -- the Textiles Engineering and Materials Team of De Montfort University in Leicester, England; several research and technology organizations; a non-profit rescue organization; a carbon nanotubes production company; and apparel and fabric manufacturers -- is coordinated by the Greek company CLOTEFI SA (the Clothing Textile and Fibre Technological Development Company).

The project is funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, which supports EU-wide research projects to promote growth, competitiveness, and employment. The project's goal is to develop comfortable garments with multiple protective properties to be worn in daily use by rescue teams in complex, risky operations. Prototypes will be developed for three specific types of operations: during extreme weather (floods, hail, etc.), operations under risk of wildland fires, and any type of risk to which first aid personnel might be exposed.

The newsletter indicates papers discussing developments that the project is working on are scheduled to be presented at the 7th International Conference on Polymer and Textile Biotechnology (March 2-4, Milan, Italy), the SMARTEX 2011 1st World Textile Conference (May 23-25, Kaferelsheikh City, Egypt), and the AUTEX 2011 11th World Textile Conference (June 8-10, Mulhouse, France).

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