About the department
The department is part of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of Ghent University.
The chairman is Prof. dr. Paul Kiekens.
Short history of the department
The textile laboratory at Ghent University was founded in 1929 by Prof. De Meulemeester. In the beginning, research focussed mainly on the mechanical properties of natural fibres, such as cotton and flax.
In 1953, Prof. De Meulemeester was accorded emeritus status and the laboratory was named after him. The laboratory’s field of research was extended to the carpet sector and others.
The laboratory celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1979 in the presence of his Majesty Prince Albert, currently the King of Belgium.
At the beginning of the eighties, the Belgian textile industry had to cope with serious problems and restructuring. To remedy this, the Belgian government set up the “Textile Plan”, which supported not only the textile industry but also textile education and research. As a result, the university textile laboratory could move to a new building at the Technologycampus of Ghent University in Zwijnaarde (Ghent).
That is where the foundation was laid for a new start of the textile education and research activities. Under the management of Prof. Paul Kiekens, the laboratory grew from a small to a medium-sized entity: the Department of Textiles.
The department offers education at national and international level, is involved or coordinating several national, European and international research projects and renders technical and scientific services to the textile industry. The department was granted in 1997 an accreditation according to EN-45001, which changed in an ISO-17025 accreditation later on.
The research activities are evolving more and more into fundamental research having a clear multidisciplinary character and introducing several new technologies. For example, research into advanced materials for niche applications, where the unique quality and functional properties of the material are decisive for success.
Also textile education was renewed at the department, taking into account new international developments. The most remarkable example is E-TEAM, a two-year English Master training, which was started in 1998 and is supported by more than 20 European textile universities and meant for students from Europe and far beyond.