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New Fabric Will Open Door to New Markets
Yorkshire Forward
Tuesday 29 Jul 2008 @ 16:48
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Yorkshire Forward is investing £165k in Leeds based Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) to develop a fabric that will have many commercial uses ranging from medical to protective clothing.

Hydrospace is a new and unique nonwoven fabric which has channels running throughout, that can be filled with liquids, gels or solid particles.

The commercial potential of this new fabric is vast with applications in numerous fields including:

  • Wipes – for, household, medical, cosmetic, baby, industrial and domestic use
  • Filters – for the filtration of blood, air, gas, petrol, chemical, etc.
  • Protective – clothing, shields and blinds
  • Insulation - acoustic and thermal


Chris Fowler, Managing Director of NIRI said; “Hydrospace provides a controlled storage and delivery mechanism for numerous active ingredients which is simple to manufacture and is relevant to many markets and applications.

“The grant from Yorkshire Forward is a major boost and will help ensure that this technology fulfills its’ potential. Of particular interest is the potential for Hydrospace to improve filters that remove harmful pathogens and toxins from blood.”

Hydrospace fabrics are made using a process called hydroentanglement which involves fibres being blasted with high pressure water jets which bonds them together. Hydrospace’s novelty lies in the ability to create and fill channels inside the fabric.

NIRI was formed in 2005 as a University of Leeds spin-out company, specialising in developing and enhancing nonwoven fabrics to meet the needs of companies operating worldwide.

Since the spin-out, NIRI has grown its commercial consultancy business using new technology developments and their specialist knowledge to solve industrial problems and help clients innovate in many market sectors.

NIRI has also developed its own range of products including self-cleaning infection control surfaces and slash resistant roller blinds both of which will be launched this year.

Recent projects where NIRI have innovated successful solutions include; insulating the Houses of Parliament, recycling expensive waste material, developing a novel wound dressing, and enhancing feminine hygiene products.

Alex McWhirter, Head of Enterprise at Yorkshire Forward, said: “Yorkshire Forward is delighted to be supporting NIRI in this innovative project. We are committed to encouraging businesses in our region to innovate through a range of activities. Yorkshire Forward’s grants allow for the successful research and development of new products, which can open up a range of new markets for the region’s businesses”.

Notes to editors:

If you would like to use a full res version of the photo attached to the email please visit http://www.nonwovens-innovation.com/yf/

Photo: (left to right) Chris Fowler (Managing Director), Prof. Stephen Russell (Technical Director) and Matthew Tipper (Operations Director) standing next to the hydroentanglement line used to develop Hydrospace.

Yorkshire Forward

  • Yorkshire Forward is the Regional Development Agency behind the economic regeneration of Yorkshire and Humber. It aims to make a positive difference by investing in jobs, improving towns and cities, and in supporting businesses throughout the region.
  • Over the past year, Yorkshire Forward has created and safeguarded more than 22,254 jobs, assisted 60,005 people in skills, created 1,067 businesses and attracted £467m in investment.
  • Yorkshire Forward’s investment across the region is maximised by attracting European Regional Development Funding from the Objectives One and Two programmes and the 2007-2013 Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programmes.

For further information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact Laura Scholey, Press Executive on 0113 3949540 or email: laura.scholey@yorkshire-forward.com

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