A relevant issue in the textile recycling process is the contamination, presence of impurities and degradation of the original used textile.

In this context, the design of modern textile requires advanced processes, including simulations and analysis of the model before starting the production. This advanced process allows the pre-evaluation of the circularity levels by design, especially justified in the case of expensive textile materials, such as the textronic-based textiles, where the electronics is embedded directly in the textile, instead of being an extra substrate of the garment.

The digitalisation-driven textile industry is rather more complex for advanced textiles, such as multifunctional smart textiles. EDA Materials CapTech is already working on a proof of concept of multifunctional smart textile, integrating relevant defence smart functionalities, such as signature management, physiological monitoring, wireless communication, fire retardancy, thermal self-regulation.

The application of circular textronics to this model is expected to be the future target for EU defence, while implying a tremendous challenge, combining the complexity of the creation of advanced digitalisation-driven textile processes and the integration of various functions within the same garment.

Finally, the standardisation of the recycling processes (e.g. design and manufacturing of materials to enhance recyclability) is a relevant aspect to improve the reliability of the circularity processes.

Project ideas

Military (Smart) Textile Waste Recycling and Valorisation:

This project strives for a comprehensive conversion of military textile waste, transforming it into novel military textile-based materials. The focus lies on establishing technical processes for the direct recycling of collected residues into new yarns, optimising the extraction of natural components, creating innovative composites, biocomposites, and non-woven textile structures. Concurrently, the project conducts Life Cycle Assessments and sets forth new guidelines for ecodesign within the military sector. 

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Recycling / Re-use / recovery of high value fibers from soldier personal protective equipment:  

This project aims to explore the recycling, reusing, and recovering of high-performance fiber materials and other valuable components from Soldier Personal Protective Equipment. It encompasses the assessment of materials during various stages of production and testing, fostering greater circularity of utilised materials and substantial waste reduction. Insights gained from these processes can be applied and transferred to armour applications beyond body armour, as well as to diverse military and civilian applications employing high-performance fibers.

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Development of a smart modular protective clothing system for military applications using safe-and-sustainable by design principles:

Within the defence sector, this project idea aims to create smart textiles with new materials. The goal is to develop a smart modular protective clothing system for military applications, incorporating "Safe-and-Sustainable by Design" principles. Anticipated outcomes encompass the creation of new textile structures with biosurfactants and colorants, a smart textile substrate for chemical detection, antimicrobial properties, and the production of a demonstrator.

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The themes embedded within this Project Circle have been developed within the concerned EDA working bodies, such as the Materials Capability Technology Group (CapTech).

If you want to express your interest in joining this Project Circle, please send an email to our functional MailBox: circular.economy@eda.europa.eu


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