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Recent research projects at the School of Textiles and Design.

Psychotextiles could be the next big thing in fabrics

-Professor George Stylios and Meixuan Chen.

We know that shapes and colour produce certain emotions; this study looks at how visual characteristics, such as patterns, produce the same emotions in the majority of the population. And if so, can we manipulate them to change our state of mind? Our insights into colours and shapes come mainly from neuroscientists looking for ways to treat people with psychiatric problems such as depression and schizophrenia.We conducted two studies to identify if patterns had an emotional effect on people.

 

Medical compression has the power to save lives.

Dr Lisa Macintyre has been lecturing in Textile Technology, specialising in knitting technology and physical testing of textiles, since 1996. She’s also an active researcher and research supervisor and loves being able to combine teaching and doing medical textile research. Medical textiles includes a huge range of textiles from the filaments in kidney dialysis machines and sutures for stitching wounds together to surgeon’s gowns and even prosthetic devices like artificial arteries but Lisa’s area of expertise is in medical compression products.

Lisa has worked for many years on ‘pressure garments’, used to treat hypertrophic scars that develop after very serious burn injuries. Hypertrophic scars are red, itchy, lumpy, painful scars that if left untreated are ugly and can cause physical deformity. When she first started working on pressure garments for hypertrophic burn scars, no-one really knew how they worked or how to optimise them. The work that she did established:

  1. How hospitals in the UK made pressure garments at that time – this enabled her to design experiments that led to new knowledge.
  2. That patients sometimes received too much or too little pressure depending on:

– their hospital
– the fabrics used to make pressure garments
– their body size

  1. A new method of measuring the pressure exerted by pressure garments on the body.
  2. A new design method for pressure garments that would enable pressure garments to exert known pressures on patient’s limbs.

Lisa worked with a Masters’ student and two hospitals to develop a computer programme that helped them monitor treatment and then make pressure garments that exert the ideal pressure every time.  She has since developed this ‘pressure garment design tool’ more and optimised it for different companies who now use it to make their pressure garments in Australia, Israel and in the UK.

She has also worked on anti-embolism stockings. Anti-embolism stockings are used in hospitals world-wide to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, most commonly in the legs. These stockings are fitted to patients before they have surgery or are immobile for a long time. Anti-embolism stockings work by applying particular pressures to people’s legs. When fitted correctly these stockings increase the blood flow back to the heart which reduces the chances of forming a thrombus. It is very important that the right pressures are applied in the right places or the stockings will not work and may even cause more harm than good.  Lisa is currently working with medics at the University of Edinburgh to develop new anti-embolism stockings that are easier to fit and will deliver the correct pressure gradient to more patients more of the time.

Surface modification of fibres and fabrics for improved impact energy absorption.

-Dr Danmei Sun

Looks at the drawbacks of current commercial available body armour materials where this research concept was built up.

There are research results from two approaches. One is practice based which is surface modification of body armour material using plasma technology. The other Finite Element modelling to show you some of the predicted results.

Both the practice and FE simulation confirm that plasma treatment could be an effective approach in the improvement of ballistic performance of current used body armour materials.

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