Textile-based flexible cooling systems

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Short description of project idea : 
Today we are surrounded with the textiles for clothing, household application, technical textiles for transportation, medical use, etc…. Depending on their mechanical and thermal properties, usually on insulation values human perceived (dis)comfort. One of the most common need today is to cool the humans and/or the products which are in close contact with human skin with having only one purpose in mind, to improve human comfort and health. A vision of using cooling textiles is known for years, however all the solutions remain unpractical for mobile outdoor use and are too stiff with integrated tubes for circulation of icy water, or some with integrated crystals. The reason for this resides in a fact that until today nobody succeeded delivering a textile-based cooling element that is suitable for an integration into several different end products without scarifying basic properties and function of existing products: light integration into car seat, lift chairs, gondola, flexibility for bandages, comfortability with other textile materials, durability and ease of working operation due to use. The Project is delivering the solution to the cooling textile element and to a technology for its production.
Main areas of expertise: 
thin films, photovoltaic, nanomaterials, smart textiles
Main objectives of the project and how will they be achieved: 
Thermoelectric silicon nanoparticle-based layers on spacer fabrics
The specific innovation technology is founded on the application of semi-conductive nanoscale materials (SiNP) onto the spacer fabrics. Coated spacer fabric with SiNP will provide electricity which can be converted from thermal energy through a process known as Seebeck. The opposite is the Peltier effect, wherein electricity can be used to generate the heat flow through the spacer fabric usable for cooling effect. The key to providing a cooling ability is in a proper choice of conducting materials (SiNP) which makes the Peltier device cooler than the environment and so it will become a flexible climate system. Result of the proposed project is nanostructured textile-based and flexible Peltier element with ability to cool in temperature difference of 10˚C in very short time (less than 100s). With excellent flow behavior through spacer structure and embedded conductive wires and customized electronic device it will enable microclimate temperature control. It will enable the transfer from passive ventilation to active innovative climate control technology. In addition, it is chemically and embrittlement-resistant, long-lived and widely applicable for an ever-growing list of industries (transportation, personal protective equipment, medicine).
Challenges that may determine the impact of the project: 
Material development and coating technology
Silicon thin films can be prepared by Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) such as thermal evaporation or sputtering. These methods making use of directed gas flow, however, are not useful for materials such as 3D spacer fabrics in which pile threads are shadowed by the covering surfaces. By classical Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) silicon thin films may be deposited even on 3D-substrates. For the intended application, these methods as well are not suited. In thermal CVD, by which electrically well conducting polycrystalline silicon layers may be deposited, process temperatures around 1000°C are required, which are not endured by fabrics. By PECVD (Plasma Enhanced CVD) requiring only lower temperature, amorphous silicon layers are deposited showing, even at high doping levels, rather low electric conductivity so that, for the intended electrical parameters, a layer thickness in the mm range would be required. Deposition technologies useful for 3D spacer fabrics should guarantee that a layer is deposited even in shadowed regions. This is achieved by dipping technology based on liquid suspensions ( SiNP +bonding agent). The applicant is convinced that except of dipping no other technique will be useful to deposit electrically conductive silicon layers homogeneously onto the pile threads of 3D spacer fabrics. For this purpose a suitable silicon-nanoparticle material has to be developed based on a CVD powder process or an electrochemical etching process.
Partners that have already expressed interest in the project and expected role: 
Prototyping and textile coating technology
ITP GmbH (Germany) is creative and development oriented SME, experienced with prototyping and production of different types of products employing light generating and electrically conductive textile components now for many years. ITP offers development of the customized electronic kits for the smart products and of contacting methods and will be in project responsible for connection of the metal wires over the both surfaces of 3D spacer fabric and for connection of the 3D spacer fabric with the electronic control module. Herbert KNEITZ GmbH (Austria) will act as an industrial partner with expertise on dipping technology. Based on their technology and technical knowledge a dipping technology developed by IPHT will be transferred from Lab to Industrial level. Technical parameters for optimized dipping process of spacer fabric will be investigated. In parallel a technological equipment will be scale up.
Profile of partners sought and expected role: 
Industrial partners
Partner with interest in the joint development and production as well in application of textile cooling systems.
Previous, relevant EU project experience: 
NanoPV: Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology for Advanced Photovoltaics
FP7-NMP-2463312, 2011-2014
Specific countries/regions/cities you are keen to collaborate with: 
open for all
First Name: 
Last Name: 
Name of the organisation: 
Leibniz-Institut of Photonic Technology
Short description of organisation: 
The Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) researches optical systems of high sensitive and selectivity by developing solutions to problems in medicine and the life and environmental sciences. The research activities are guided by the motto “Photonics for Life.” The internal research focus biophotonics links all research activities at IPHT. Together with the internal research focuses of fiber optics and photonic detection, new photonic methods can be transferred to innovative, application-oriented systems in line with the motto “From Ideas to Instruments.” IPHT builds on its unique technological position in the fields of micro and nanotechnology, as well as fiber optics and optical system technology. Research fields related to the project include silicon based detectors, plasmonic nanoparticles, thermoelectric sensors, and silicon thin film solar cells, as well as silicon based thermoelectric energy harvesting and cooling systems on textiles.

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