Faculty of Textile Engineering and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Technical University in Liberec (VŠS-VŠST-TUL) was traditionally engaged in Research and Development for material production in light industry as well as constructions in the field of special and single-purpose machines. One of the research topics was also production of basic fiber layers for nonwovens.
Discovery of technology regarding electrospinning from a free surface of the polymer solution by direct current in 2002 (US7585437B2) elevated electrical spinning from laboratory to industrial equipment. Patenting of the invention has opened opportunities for this technological transfer. The exclusive patent license was obtained by fy Elmarco from TUL, which chose a strategy for the world-market by selling the laboratory and industrial equipment designed on the principle of electrostatic spinning. Designers from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering participated in the construction of machine prototypes based on the principle of electrostatic alternating spinning. Work had been supported by projects MTI CR: 2A-1TP1/113 FR-TI1/451 FR-TI3/845
Thanks to the TUL and Elmarco, availability of nanofiber layer machines has dramatically accelerated the interest in research, development, production and application of nanofiber materials worldwide. At Technical University in Liberec, research on Technical Material Use as well as research on the application of Tissue Engineering has been developed. In 2007, the conference and summer school about Tissue Engineering took place in Liberec under the auspices of TUL. In anticipation of the research development and application activities regarding spinning technology, conference conclusions led to creating Klastr Nanoprogress z.s. TUL has been a member since 2011. Nano progress belongs to excellent European clusters and is a co-founder of European strategic cluster partnership „AdPack“.
In 2013, alternating spinning/AC electrospinning was discovered (CZ304137/EP2931951, US10041189B2), its application potential is currently being verified by a lot of research and developmental activities.
Since then, collective research on alternating spinning and electrospinning has been conducted by Faculty of Education, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, and Faculty of Textile Engineering under the administration of CNATI Institute. Research is funded by pre-application R&D projects from OP PIK and OP PI carried out by Nanoprogress. In the framework of research activities, there has been developed sophisticated methods on functionalization of nanofiber structures, designed and constructed worldwide unique equipment capable of preparing nanofiber structures, e.g. the type “core/coat, “as well as devices for preparing linear composite nanofibrous structures, which are based on a new AC spinning technology via the alternating current.
In 2017, a production line of linear composite material containing nanofibers was awarded a gold medal at the International Engineering Exhibition in Brno, in the category called Innovative Processing Technology. The production line uses AC spinning technology and was created on the basis of collaboration between the Faculty of Textile Engineering and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering under the administration of CNATI Institute.
Potential of application usage based on spinning technologies, especially in medical and technical applications, leads gradually to involvement of other TUL workplaces in collective R&D topics and also raising new topics – from the field of plastics and composites, machine design, material properties analysis, testing of developed materials, etc.
Application potential and R&D topics are mirrored in the following study programs:
FME Faculty of Mechanical Engineering is introducing subjects concerning machine design/construction for nanofibre production, additive technology, etc.
FMI/FNHE Faculty of Mechatronics, Informatics and Interdisciplinary Studies/Faculty of Nature Science, Humanities, Education is realizing undergraduate and graduate study programs in Nanotechnologies.
TUL is realizing postgraduate study programs in Nanotechnologies.
FNHE Faculty of Nature Science, Humanities, Education has accredited new graduate study programs Bioengineering.