Paul Schlack Prize 2018 awarded to ITA alumnus Dr Benjamin Weise

Awarding ceremony Copyright: Austrian Fiber Institute

Dr Benjamin Weise (Maastricht University) at the award ceremony with Professor Dr Hilmar Fuchs (STFI Chemnitz), from left to right, source: Austrian Fiber Institute 

  Congratulation of the awardee Copyright: Austrian Fiber Institute Honour of the award winner - Prof. Dr. Gunnar Seide (Maastricht University), Frédéric van Houte (CIRFS), award winner Dr. Benjamin Weise (Maastricht University), Prof. Dr. Hilmar Fuchs (STFI Chemnitz), from left to right, source: Austrian Fiber Institute

ITA alumnus Dr Benjamin Weise was awarded the Paul Schlack Prize 2018 for his dissertation "Development of graphene-modified multifilament yarns for fabrication of textile charge storage devices". The dedication took place during the opening session of the Dornbirn GFC Global Fiber Convention on September 11, 2018 in Dornbirn, Austria.

In his dissertation, Dr Weise developed novel polyamide-6 and graphene fibres and used them to form textile fabrics.

Due to the incorporation of graphene in the polymer matrix, the innovative fibres are capable to act as drapable and flexible charge storage device thus making the necessity obsolete to sew bulky accumulators into a textile. This opens new application perspectives in smart textiles and are ideally suited for use in double-layer capacitors, so-called supercaps. Compared to lithium-ion batteries, supercaps offer more power and a longer service life as no chemical reactions are taking place during the charging process.

In addition, the new polyamide graphene fibers can reduce incident electromagnetic terahertz radiation to up to 25 per cent of its original intensity. Terahertz radiation offers transmission rates of 100 Mbit/sec and is therefore highly interesting for high-performance wireless communication. The radiation could, however, damage sensitive electronics such as those in aircraft when used over large areas. Therefore, the shielding of the radiation is of high importance, for example for the fibre composite components in the aircraft, which protect the on-board electronics.

Polyamide-6 graphene fibres possess antistatic properties, too, and prevent electrical charging. This is particularly interesting for equipment being intended to protect people against risks to their safety and health. Due to their antistatic properties, the polyamide-6 graphene fibres are well suited, for example, for safety clothing or personal protective equipment.

Dr Weise's dissertation was jointly supervised by Professor Dr Gunnar Seide, Maastricht University, and Professor Dr Thomas Gries, Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University, short ITA.

Since Dr Weise's dissertation presents unique research results, it was also awarded the Dissertation Award of the Walter Reiners Foundation of German Textile Machinery 2018 by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) on September 26, 2018. Due to its outstanding properties, the European Union is funding graphene research as part of the "Graphene Flagship" with one billion euros (source: Homepage Graphene Flagship).


Since 1971, the Paul Schlack Prize for the promotion of chemical fibre research at universities and research institutes has been awarded at the Dornbirn GFC Global Fiber Convention (formerly Dornbirn Man-made Fibers Congress) in Dornbirn (Austria). Former ITA winners of the Paul Schlack Prize were Dr Andreas De Palmenaer, Prof. Dr Gunnar Seide, Dr Wilhelm Steinmann, Dr Stephan Walter, Dr Gisa Wortberg and Dr Markus Beckers (Paul Schlack-Honorary Prize).