British design agency Rheon Labs claims to have developed a “world’s first” strain-rate sensitive fibre that can reportedly control energy of any amplitude or frequency.
The company, which conducted a six-month pilot project to hone its technology, worked in partnership with Fibre Extrusion Technology Ltd, a leading laboratory and supplier of melt-spinning equipment.
Work was funded by a £173,000 ($197,500) grant, provided by Innovate UK. With financial backing, the team at Rheon Labs was able to refine its technology – a reactive polymer that dynamically stiffens when subjected to force.
The company believes its technology, which can control forces at ballistic speeds, could enable the creation of a new generation of stretch textiles that can actively absorb, dampen and control energy during movement, rather than acting as a spring.
The next phase, the collaborating organisations say, will be to scale trials using Fibre Extrusion Technology’s meltspinning line. If successful, the pair have envisioned the market launch of their fibre, which has been tipped to change the sector in the same way Lycra’s stretch fibre did.