24. March 2022 / News from the FIBRE Institute: Foldable Composites with Cotton

In the Thermolink project, the Fibre Institute Bremen e. V. (FIBRE) developed composites with a joint function through local thermal consolidation of textile surfaces using cotton as reinforcing fibre. Certain areas of the textile surfaces are systematically stiffened by the action of heating and cooling of the thermoplastic fibers. At the same time, the untreated areas remain flexible, creating a hinge and semi-finished foldable products. This method can be applied for numerous purposes, whilst the textile materials can be adjusted accordingly. Examples of the applications include foldable boxes, suitcases, and smartphone cases. Not only can the technology described be used to design innovative and high-quality products, but it also reduces cost-intensive, previously necessary, steps such as joining.

Part of the research project employed materials made from polylactic acid (as the matrix fibre) and cotton (as the reinforcing fibre), nonetheless all materials with high and low melting fibres can be used with this technique. However, this combination means that the final products will be made of fully biodegradable components and could thus replace composites made of oil-based materials.


The INNO-KOM research project (funding code 49VF180034) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a decision by the German Bundestag as part of the “R&D funding of non-profit external industrial research institutions – innovation competence”.


The project was completed in September 2021.

Further information: Franziska Stehle

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