Prof. Bipin Kumar

Department of Textile and Fiber Engineering

IIT Delhi

Textiles have been integral part of human race since centuries. Though, they were initially thought to be used for covering, storage, ropes, fishing, etc. A textile material and their structures offers many unique characteristics such as flexibility, drape, breathability and strength, which is otherwise not easily achieved in other engineering materials and structures. Further, their surface could be functionalized to achieve novel properties. Their application domains have widened in multiple areas including medical, civil, defense, energy, transport, protection, etc.

Today, textile can enhance the quality of human life through protection against various hazards as well as protections of environment. Protective textiles offer wide application areas, including the protection from cross-infection like COVID19, heat and fire protection, protection against biological agents, radiance shielding against UV rays, and military applications.

Protective textiles are the fastest growing area of textile consumption in the world. As per the market survey it has projected an average growth rate of 6% for technical textiles. In most of the developed countries, Protective textile already account for 4% of the total textile production.

Protection from Radiation: 

Radiation is part of our daily life. High exposure to electromagnetic radiation affecting our cells, brain tumors, poor reaction times, and sleep disorders. The team has researched into metal based textiles and garments are designed for EMI/RF shielding from mobiles, laptops, Wi-Fi, computers, phone towers and all other wireless devices being used in present electronic world.

Antimicrobial Protection

Conventional garments possess the risk of human pathogens and cross-infection rates. The most likely way for the virus to spread is through close contact with someone who’s infected, and a textile surface acts as a carrier. The team has developed functional textiles with antiviral and antimicrobial properties that offers protection against bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses, and other hazardous microbe. The antimicrobial property of the garment remains effective even after 30 washes at mild condition.

Anxiety Protection

An estimated 275 million people suffer from anxiety disorders due to either apprehension or tension to factors such as social media, poor sleep habits, lowered stigma, and underreporting in the past.

The team has researched in unique electronic textile products that could improve the daily lives of individuals and families living with sensory and neurological disorder. Through smart compression pattern and acupressure technique, it will reduce anxiety, relieve stress, and improve circulation and sleeping.


Rape Protection

Rape is a greater societal problem that needs to be addressed on a more comprehensive scale. This heinous crime affects many genders (especially women).

Protective textiles can serve as an incentive for every one to address the issue of their own personal safety to prevent rape. The team has researched into smart e-textile based innovative solution give women an edge when it comes to personal safety. With only a tap, a user can trigger a loud alarm that will immediately notify friends and family of their current location.

Bedsore Protection

Pressure ulcer or sores can form when your skin and soft tissue press against a harder surface, such as a chair or bed, for a prolonged time.  Lack of blood supply in this areas can cause the skin tissue to become damaged or die. Engineering 3D textile structures and soft fibrous materials could ensure uniform pressure distribution around underlying tissues.

About E-TEX

Dr. Kumar’s research group is working towards innovative engineering solutions for protection and healthcare. The team has incubated a smart textile start-up, ETEX Healthcare Private Limited (www.etex.in) in IIT Delhi. Being the first mover in the smart textile market in the country, ETEX aims to grab the opportunity of fulfilling the need of functional and advanced textile solutions to solve the real lifestyle issues related to protection. The team is supported with state of art facilities and technologies to achieve seamless integration of smart materials, electronics into textiles for delivering next generation wearable solutions.

The team has launched their first commercial product, KAWACH Mask, in May 2020 at the time urgency. The start-up ETEX has scaled up production to ensure that the mask reaches the masses to protect them against COVID-19. So far, over three million masks have been served to the country across all states. While doing so ETEX has created over 2000 jobs in the textile industry in the country at a time when there is a tough employment scenario due to the pandemic. The startup has organized several training sessions for garment houses for the quality mask development.

While not resting on the laurels of merely developing textile technology, they are on the next mission to introduce the historic and popular Indian brand “KAWACH” on the international forum.

References

  1. Kumar, Bipin, Apurba Das, and R. Alagirusamy. Science of Compression Bandage. Woodhead Publishing India Pvt Limited, 2014.
  2. Basak, S., Laha, A., Bar, M., & Roy, R. (2018). Recent Advances in Protective Textile Materials. Advanced Textile Engineering Materials, 55-86.
  3. Kumar, B., & Thakur, S. (Eds.). (2017). Textiles for Advanced Applications. BoD–Books on Demand.
  4. Hu, Jinlian, Bipin Kumar, and Jing Lu, eds. Handbook of Fibrous Materials, 2 Volumes: Volume 1: Production and Characterization/Volume 2: Applications in Energy, Environmental Science and Healthcare. John Wiley & Sons, 2020.
  5. Kumar, B., Gupta, H., Anand, Y. (2020): Novel Knit Based Design and Process for Making Medical Masks, Indian Patent Application Number-202011013953, Filing Date: 30 March 2020, India

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