ENSAIT’s research activities
GEMTEX’s work is currently structured around the following research groups (centres of expertise):
- HCD (Human Centred Design), Section CNU 61
- MTP (Multifunctional Textiles and Processes), Sections CNU 32, 33 and 62
- MTC (Mechanics - Textile Composites), Section CNU 60
By regrouping 10 teacher-researchers from GEMTEX Laboratory in Section CNU 61, the HCD research group aims to meet the economic, technological and ecological requirements of the textile industry in France and Europe, through the development and application of information and communication technologies. For many years, the group has endeavoured to adapt its research activities to the development of the textile sector, by primarily following two broad trends of:
1. New, advanced fibrous materials with innovative properties being extensively and successfully implemented in various sectors such as the automotive industry, cosmetics, aeronautics, health and construction.
2. The clothing sector, being highly dependent on the international textile supply chain, and, having been subjected to economic and social crises, as a result of relocation, is exploring the possibilities of local textile production, with new added value for the consumer. Following this trend, mass customisation, co-creation, virtual prototyping, short cycles, eco-design, manufacturing of flexible and re-configurable structures, are frequently implemented concepts in order to rethink the future clothing industry and to consider emerging consumption patterns. All its research activities are geared towards basic human needs (comfort, well-being, individuality, safety and health…) by following these two broad trends which reflect today’s economy.
The HCD group is developing the following competences:
The MTP Group (Multifunctional Textile Processes) has developed significantly and is structured around competences related to the implementation of new multifunctional textiles. Textiles are, by nature, flexible materials used on a daily basis by many and which, today, combine high added value concepts with sustainable development.
The input of original functionalities to a textile structure may be achieved by implementing a number of additional strategies: the development of multifunctional fibres by transforming synthetic materials using additives or the melt spinning process, the adaptation of textile processes when applying fibres to textile surfaces and the chemical or physical functionalisation of product surfaces. In this context, the MTP Group’s competences fall into three closely interlinked approaches:
Throughout these approaches, particular attention is paid to the sustainable development of materials which are developed through the use of polymers or biosourced molecules, the implementation of natural bast fibres and the application of a life cycle analysis (LCA) to developed products and processes.
The scientific competences of the Mechanics Textile Composites Group are dedicated to the implementation and characterisation of textile preforms, in view of their application as reinforcements for composite parts, but also to the design and optimisation of preform preparation processes. Within the French panel of mechanics laboratories, where research activities are dedicated to structures and composite materials, it should be noted that the MTC Group’s competences are unique, as none of these laboratories have the potential to design preforms intended for reinforcements. The relatively small size of the MTC Group is compensated for by its significant number of academic collaborations, as a result of its membership of GDR, internationally known as CNRS and its dedication to reinforcement and composites (GDR3371 "Implementation of Composites and Induced Properties" and GDR3542 "Multiscale Mechanics of Fibrous Media") but also by its significant number of theses carried out under co-supervision with these French laboratories (45% of the MTC group theses were carried out under co-supervision with another French laboratory, during the period 2008-2013).
In terms of functionalities, this research group focuses on the applications of the lightening of structural parts in industrial sectors, primarily in transport and defence, but also in energy. With regard to industrial sector specifications, which are primarily mechanical, competences of the MTC’s group members are as follows: