Image of the month

When working in a research institute, one sometimes encounters wonderful textile images, revealing the inner secrets of fabrics and fibres and their sheer graphic beauty. We are happy to share them with you. Therefore, every month we will select and publish a picture that comes out of our new Field Emission Gun - Scanning Electron Microscope (a.k.a. FEG SEM).

Click on the images and be amazed!

March 2018

A most beautiful way to visualise the cross-section of a filament

February 2018

Another pair of pictures from the LIBRE project. The incompatibility between lignin and PLA creates a microfibrillar structure.

January 2018

SEM microscope zooming in on a nonwoven textile structure. Click on the image and be amazed by the optically illusionary blurring boundaries between scientific disciplines...

December 2017

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Nacre also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent. Nacre is composed of hexagonal platelets of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) 10–20 µm wide and 0.5 µm thick arranged in a continuous parallel lamina.These layers are separated by sheets of organic matrix composed of elastic biopolymers (such as chitin, lustrin and silk-like proteins).

November 2017

A mesh fabric is a woven material of open texture with evenly spaced holes

October 2017

The effect of solvents on PLA, also have a look at the July pictures

September 2017

The LIBRE project will utilise lignin-rich side stream feedstock from the pulp and paper industry, blended with a biopolymer precursor fibre, to create a more resource-efficient and sustainable carbon fibre production process. The ultimate aim of the LIBRE project is to create carbon fibre materials with a superior structure that will open up potential new markets.

August 2017

The structural qualities of nanofibres, including small pore size and large surface area, add value to applications requiring properties such as sound and temperature insulation, fluid holding capacity, softness, strength, durability, lustre, barrier property enhancement, and filtration performance. Centexbel develops nanofibre nonwovens for medical and other high-end applications.

July 2017

On July 19, 2017, Marc, our SEM camera operator, dashed into my office to - rightfully - announce that he had just produced the most beautiful images of what happens to a PLA filament when it has been dipped into a solvent. Watch, click and enjoy.

June 2017

Monofilament made from a 50% lignin – 50% PLA blend, composed of smaller fibres. Subsequently, it will be processed into a carbon fibre by means of a high temperature heat treatment. The aim of the EU Horizon 2020 LIBRE project is to use lignin rich side streams to develop resource-efficient and sustainable carbon fibers.

May 2017

In the Interreg France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen project “Duratex” we are developing a dirt-repellent and antimicrobial textile for durable applications in construction and architecture. Read more

April 2017

The picture that will "pop up" upon your click looks like a rhinoceros, so welcome to the fascinating microscopic world of PP reinforced with polymer microfibrils

March 2017

Blend of polypropylene (PP) and Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) a polymer mainly used in the production of laminated safety glass

February 2017

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Because flaws yield more interesting pictures than perfection, we present you the wonderful mciroscopic world of "brittle breakages"

January 2017

No, this is not the new hairdo of a political leader! This image is taken in the framework of Patecs, a Cornet project, aimed at improving the adhesion between sensor textiles and their protective coating.

December 2016

Printed conductive tracks in-between two protective coating layers | SmartPro research project | Smart Textiles and wearable intelligence: from intelligent prototypes to industrial and practical products

November 2016

Wood-plastic composites (WPC) - PP matrix reinforced with lignocellulosic fibres.

October 2016

Looking right into the heart of PLA fibres

September 2016

In the Free foaming research project we are looking for a competitive and ecologically valid answer to the increasing demand of foam polymer products, by reconsidering the foaming technology and the chemical agents that are being used

August 2016

After exposing some textile samples to biofouling on the roof of the Centexbel building in Gent-Zwijnaarde, we discovered some beautiful, but unknown organisms. Thanks to the expertise of Lander Blommaert (PhD student) and Prof. Dr. Dominique Adriaens - Ghent University - Evolutionary Morphology of Vertebrates & Zoology, we may now assure you that it is a picture of "Epipyxis condensata".

This test was carried out in the framework of the Affitex project

July 2016

The word cashmere is an old spelling of the Kashmir region in northern India and Pakistan. Cashmere is fine in texture, strong, light, and soft. Garments made from it provide excellent insulation, approximately three times that of sheep wool. Cashmere is also softer than regular wool.

June 2016

"Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state." Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859), English essayist

May 2016

Spirulina is a micro-algae with a blue dyestuff content of about 20%. Centexbel explores the possibilities to use fycocyanine, extracted from spirulina as a textile dyestuff.

April 2016

Metal particles in coating

March 2016

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Exfoliated graphene

February 2016

The beauty of imperfection: loosening glue between two laminated layers

January 2016

Coated fabric

December 2015

A polyamide 12 filament, made by Centexbel, has been dipped into liquid nitrogen to make it brittle and then cracked with a hammer to reveal its inner structure

November 2015

Cracks in a coating: contemporary art through the Scanning Electron Microscope

October 2015

foamed coating layer

September 2015

fibres with an intricate "shrubbery" look

August 2015

fracture area PA-glass fibre composite

July 2015


Laminated knitwear

June 2015

Cross-sectional view of yarns made from flax fibres to verify the absence of cheaper ramie fibres. The curly and twisted flax fibres could easily feature in Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride"

May 2015

Antibacterial knitwear made from polyamide fibres containing silver ions

April 2015

A layer of electrospun nanofibres on top of a fabric

March 2015

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Fracture area showing the reinforcing glass fibres in a Polyamide matrix

February 2015

Flax is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae

January 2015

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No better way to start the year than with a microscopic view of guitar strings (top view of D4 and a cross section of A5)

December 2014


November 2014

Sectional view of a woven fabric

October 2014

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Dip-coated cupper filament - click on the image and see the spectacular effect when a wrong formulation has been used!

September 2014

Formation of fibrils in PP with 20% PET multifilaments - the top view shows holes, but when you click on the image, the fibrils will pop up in the longitudinal view

August 2014

Tent canvas "eaten away" by fungus

July 2014

Microbial responsive finish sprayed on a nonwoven

June 2014

Inside a nonwoven structure

May 2014

PES knitwear treated with chitosan, where 1,2,3,4-Butanetetracarboxylic acid (BTCA) is used as crosslinker.
BTCA or 1,2,3,4-Butanetetracarboxylic acid is a carboxylic acid. Carboxylic acids donate hydrogen ions if a base is present to accept them. They react in this way with all bases, both organic and inorganic.
Chitosan is a natural biopolymer showing good biocompatibility, bio-absorbability, wound-healing, haemostatic, anti-infection, anti-bacterial, non-toxic and adsorption properties.

April 2014

Longitudinal view of monofilaments made of PP + 30% PET
(1) brittle fracture under nitrogen
(2) PET droplets are joined into a fibril.

March 2014

Don't mistake these microencapsulated pcm's for blueberries! For external use only!
Use of microencapsulated phase change materials (pcm) in mattress ticking for thermal comfort (heat storage and release)

February 2014

Inside the honeycomb-like structure of cork

January 2014

What about probability?
Non-wovens look like an endless three dimensional network of entangled fibres. But is it just an everlasting repetition of disorder ?
Click on the picture and discover a perfect knot

December 2013

Ever wondered what a three dimensional labyrinth looks like? Perhaps this cross section view of a polyurethane foam is very near your imagination.
Click on the picture to see what you encounter while wandering through the labyrinth... Creepy… isn’t it ?

November 2013

View of a black anti-odour sock using light microscopy
The glossy aspect of the filaments hinders visualisation. The SEM electron image (to be seen after you click on the image) generates a sharp picture but without colour information. EDX (insert) mapping adds information on the composition of the antimicrobial fibres identifying them as silver coated monofilaments.
Composition of the sock: 82% cotton - 6% polyamide - 3% elastane - 9% silver monofilament
You can see the television story behind the pictures on the website of the Belgian French-speaking television RTBF "On n'est pas des pigeons" (first item)

October 2013

Microfibre cloth with split fibres

September 2013

Multi-layer coating

August 2013

Trilobal PP BCF yarn contaminated with fungi – visible presence of spores and fungi"

July 2013

“Microfibrillar reinforced textile” (FEG SEM image) : Start of fibril formation in PP
Click on the image to have some microfibrils "pop-up"


In the framework of the research project Fibriltex, blends of non-compatible polymers, such as PP and PET are processed in textile extrusion. The first results are promising as shows the picture above: PP and PET can be extruded together resulting in microsized fibrils within the textile filaments. These innovative yarns can be applied in various technical textiles or further processed into thermoplastic composites in which the fibrils form the reinforcement phase.
Read more

June 2013


Electron Image: PP non woven – plasma treated

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