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Self-sealing clothing for professional fishermen

January 1st, 2012 / By: / Projects

The largest independent research organization in Scandinavia, Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning (SINTEF), is coordinating the European Union’s Safe@Sea project to develop clothing for professional fishermen. Susie Jahren and her research team landed a big one by finding a textile coating that automatically seals small holes and tears in the surface of waterproof work wear. “We have shown that the principle works,” says Jahren. “Holes and tears we have made in test pieces in the lab close up all on their own.” The principle involves adding micro-capsules containing a glue-like substance to the polyurethane applied to textiles in most modern rainwear. The polyurethane coating hardens, but when the coating tears, the micro-capsules burst and the sealant is released, bonding the tear and hardening in response to water and air. The joint adhesion is still mechanically weak, and Jahren is seeking different types of glue. Jahren continues to work in the lab because “We still don’t know what will happen if the tears are more than a couple of millimeters long, or whether rain will wash away the glue.”

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