New method for making functional textiles and fibers

Plasma technology is used to modify the chemical structure as well as the topography of textiles, foils, composites and other fibrous material. It has the ability to add functional characteristics to materials, for example water resistance or absorption, antibacterial properties, improved adhesion etc. Conventional plasma systems are established in the industry but have the disadvantage that they operate at vacuum, have a small treatment surface or operate at high temperatures. TNO has developed a technology that overcomes these drawbacks and is well suited for continuous production processes.

For coating of materials with very thin layers (300nm), TNO has developed SDBD (Surface Dielectric Barrier Discharge) Plasma. This plasma, generated at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, can be precisely controlled and can therefore easily be used in a continuous production process. For example, SDBD plasma can provide a hydrophobic coating on the individual fibers, thus maintaining breathability and natural feel of cotton. Main advantages are:

  • Almost at room temperature (Application for temperature sensitive materials)
  • Dry process (no need to dry or for waste water)
  • Applicable in continuous process
  • Operates under atmospheric pressure
  • Easy control of power and coating process
  • Up scalable to production widths up to 4 m
  • Low energy consumption


SDBD plasma technology can be applied for activation or coating of textile, foils, composites etc. in order to achieve an improved:

  • Adhesion
  • Dyeability
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Antimicrobial characteristics
  • UV protection
  • etc.

Technical Summary

SDBD plasma created by adding electrical energy to the gas near the surface. The substrate, for instance cotton, is guided through the plasma with a roll to roll system. A gaseous precursor can be added over the plasma to achieve the optimum coating effect. Various demonstrations have been given with astonishing results to the customer, at low operational costs. The technique has been applied in several pilot applicatiosn to enhance the properties of fibers and textiles. Some examples are:

  • Hydrophobization of cotton
  • Anti-microbial layers in bandages
  • Corrosion protective coatings on metallized fabrics
  • Increase of surface energy of Polyethylene fibers
  • Dying of Polypropylene foil
  • Improved adhesion of PET fabric to a PU or PVC coatings

License - Stage of Development


License - Proposal

licensing opportunity and research collaboration

License - TNO reference number

Licensing opportunities