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Engineers are constantly developing new lightweight, durable textiles to be used in many facets of our daily lives. Manufacturers of airplanes and automobiles are increasingly turning to textiles, such as carbon fibers, to produce their new models. They rely on carbon fibers due to light weight and durable properties. For instance, the wing of an airplane might be metal, but many of the interior parts are made of carbon fiber. Aircraft engineers combine carbon fiber with other lightweight materials to create composites which are usually 20 to 30% lighter than metal alloys. Carbon fiber threads are made up of between 1,000 and 48,000 tiny filaments. The filaments are created by oxidizing, or burning a synthetic polymer in a 2000 degree furnace, turning it into almost pure carbon.

Engineers are finding uses for new high tech materials, such as QTC - a polymer embedded with millions of tiny pointed metal particles. QTC acts like a resistor, but the metal particles are so close together, that if something in the environment changes, the charge between particles increases and electrons can jump from one to another in a process called quantum tunneling. QTC is so sensitive that its resistance will alter if there are changes in sound, smell, temperature, or pressure. In future space missions, QTC might assist astronauts with fans, lights and other devices inside of their spacesuits - controlled by so called soft switches - devices that make use of the fact that QTC becomes more conductive when pressure is applied.

DVD / 2013 / (High School or above) / 15 minutes

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Wearable electronics, textiles that generate power and smart and modern materials like Kevlar, Nomex and D30 are all covered in this resource that looks at their characteristics, functions and applications. Case studies include: materials used by stuntmen and ballerinas, a handbag that charges your phone, piezo-electric textiles and garments that sense and react to changes in your body and the environment.

DVD / 2012 / (KS 3-5) / 42 minutes

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Filmed in Bangladesh, one of the world's largest textile manufacturers, this resource explores the social cost of our cheap textiles. With footage filmed inside a number of Bangladeshi textile factories, it explores the issues of sweatshop labour, poor working conditions, a fair wage and the right to unionise and asks who is responsible? It then compares the social impacts of this mass-scale textiles production with the benefits brought to a small rural community in Bangladesh by a fair trade textile initiative.

DVD / 2011 / (KS 3-5) / 26 minutes

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As lead designers for Finisterre, Tom and Debbie are on a mission íV to create the most eco-friendly surf-wear brand in the world. From their HQ in Cornwall to fabric suppliers in Japan and manufacturers in Portugal, we follow the pair as they explain how they reduce the environmental and ethical impact of their clothes by considering the use of materials and energy throughout their design, manufacture, transportation and use. We see how they; source and develop eco-friendly technical materials - from recycled polyester to organic wool and cotton, we follow Tom on a series of environmental factory audits in Portugal and we find out how Finisterre work with customers to reduce the carbon footprint of products throughout their life-cycle.

DVD / 2011 / (KS 3-5) / 26 minutes

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Filmed in Bangladesh and in the UK, this resource assesses the environmental impacts of the textile industry both here and abroad. It looks at how companies in the UK are working to meet government targets to reduce their environmental impact by using state of the art water recycling plants and by making better use of their waste streams. The resource then explores the environmental impact of textile production in Bangladesh, and shows how the true cost of cheap textiles is being felt by the very poorest living downstream from polluting textile factories.

DVD / 2011 / (KS 3-5) / 26 minutes

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This resource looks at the different types of industrial finishes available and their applications. It explores the reasons for finishing, and when and why different processes might be used. It then goes on to look at how the range of finishes now available is creating ever more technical materials, enhancing the role of textiles in today's society. The DVD provides examples of a variety of chemical and physical finishes and their applications.

DVD / 2011 / (KS 3-5) / 30 minutes

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This resource shows how textile designers are meeting the challenge from government and consumers to meet the 6Rs. Case studies include: shoes made from old tyres and seatbelts; bags made from recycled airline seats and high fashion tailoring created from second hand shop finds. The DVD also shows jute sacks being reprocessed into fibres then manufactured into needle punched technical textiles for use in the construction industry.

DVD / 2009 / (KS 3-5) / 34 minutes

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New technology and processes are combining with traditional textiles to create a new generation of smarter, more technical products than ever before. Filmed with some of the world's most innovative textile companies, this programme explores the properties, characteristics and functions of these new materials and shows how they are being used to revolutionise the world around us. Case studies include: geo-textiles, medical textiles, QTC, carbon fibre and interior design

DVD / 2008 / (KS 3-5) / 57 minutes

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This resource looks at how CAD/CAM is transforming all sections of the textile industry, from digital printing and embroidery to knitting and laser cutting. For each case study, designers and manufacturers explain how they work in function of new technologies and discuss the benefits CAD/CAM brings to their business.

DVD / 2007 / (KS 3-5) / 27 minutes

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This resource looks at the impact of new technology on the global fashion and textile industry. A top fashion design house shows how ICT, CAD and CAM has revolutionised the way they communicate with their global manufacturing partners íV from speeding up the design process to improving accuracy and efficiency of production íV enabling them to turn designs around from initial idea through to shop floor in a matter of weeks. It also shows how 3D body scanners enable retailers and catalogue companies to create more accurate size charts and 3D patterns.

DVD / 2007 / (KS 3-5) / 30 minutes

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This resource looks at the different tests fabrics and products have to undergo before they hit the shelves. Using examples from high street retailer, New Look and outdoor specialists, Millets and Blacks, it shows industrial textiles testing laboratories and includes footage and clear explanations of tests for flammability, abrasion and pilling, tear and tensile strength, burst and drape testing, as well as tests for care labelling, eg shrinkage and colour fastness. The programme also includes tests for high performance wear, including tests for insulation, breathability, wickability, wind and waterproofness.

DVD / 2005 / (KS 3-5) / 33 minutes

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This resource provides clear explanations and footage of: dye recipes being developed and tested in the laboratory; industrial printing methods including flat-bed, carousel and roller screen-print, as well as transfer printing and flocking. The final section looks at how factories manage the environmental impact of their waste products.

DVD / 2004 / (KS 3-5) / 33 minutes

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This resource provides numerous examples of commercial production methods and systems, including job, batch, quantity/mass production and JIT. It includes examples of both hand and digitized pattern laying, cutting and marking up, including straight and rotating blade cutters, computerized laser cutting tables and hot drill. It covers assembly, using both single and twin needle, button and specialist embroidery machines. The case studies also illustrate how CAD/CAM is used in quality control and management information systems.

DVD / 2004 / (KS 3-5) / 27 minutes

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