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A new twist in fabric spinning technology: Nu-Torque™

“I hope the success of Nu-Torque makes entrepreneurs understand that technology is not something intangible and impractical. Technology actually contributes to their competitiveness.”

Have you ever put on a favourite new shirt or pair of jeans, only to discover that the seams had curled up after just a few washes? This is the result of what is known in the textile industry as residual torque, a phenomenon in which yarn is built up during the spinning process.

Thanks to the work of Prof. Tao Xiao-ming, Chair Professor of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a solution has been found. Called Nu-Torque Singles Ring Yarn Technology, it produces ring-spun yarn with higher strength, excellent softness and the ability to retain its shape even after many washes. Better yet, the process saves significant energy and requires absolutely no chemicals, making it a truly green technology.

For many years, Prof. Tao has been tackling the challenges of residual torque which was unsolved for over 100 years in the textile industry. After countless tries, inspiration finally struck her one day. She believed that by increasing the number of residual turns in the yarn and changing the tightness of the twists, the problem could be overcome. This idea was then tried out on yarn spinning machines. It was an instant success — the resulting thread was straight with absolutely no kinks. And Prof. Tao was thrilled to have solved an age-old problem!

After refining the technology further, the process was trademarked under the Nu-Torque name and received a number of patents in the US and China. Today, Nu-Torque has been widely licensed to textile manufacturers and adopted by popular clothing retailers across the world for towels, T-shirts, polo shirts and jeans, among others. The installation of the system is simple and the cost is minimal. Additional improvements to the technology are ongoing, including the development of an electronic control system that allows for easy spinning of Nu-Torque yarns on conventional spinning machines.

Through her research achievements, Prof. Tao is helping to make Hong Kong one of the world’s leading centres in the field of textile technology. “I didn’t realize it would be this big,” said Prof. Tao. “I hope the success of Nu-Torque makes entrepreneurs understand that technology is not something intangible and impractical. Technology actually contributes to their competitiveness.”

A great twist in fabric spinning technology: Nu-Torque™

Have you ever discovered from your favourite new shirt or pair of jeans that the seams had curled up after just a few washes? In the textile industry, this phenomenon is known as residual torque, which is caused when yarn is built up during the spinning process. Prof. Tao Xiao-ming, Chair Professor of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has found a solution to this trouble – Nu-Torque Singles Ring Yarn Technology. This solution produces ring-spun yarn with higher strength, excellent softness and the ability to retain its shape even after many washes. More importantly, the process is a truly eco-friendly technology, as it saves a significant amount of energy and requires absolutely no chemicals. For many years, Prof. Tao has been working on this enhancement project. After numerous attempts, inspiration finally struck her one day. By increasing the number of residual turns in the yarn and changing the tightness of the twists, she believed that the problem could be overcome. This idea was turned into reality on yarn spinning machines. It was an instant success, as the resulting thread was straight without a single kink. After further refinement of the technology, the process was trademarked under the Nu-Torque name and received a number of patents in China and the US. Today, Nu-Torque is widely licensed to textile manufacturers and adopted by popular clothing retailers across the globe for jeans, towels, T-shirts, to name but a few. The simple installation of the system and the minimal cost lead to its widespread usage. Currently, ongoing research is being carried out in order to look for additional improvements to the technology, such as the development of an electronic control system which allows easy spinning of Nu-Torque yarns on conventional spinning machines. Prof. Tao’s contribution make Hong Kong gain a reputation as one of the world’s leading centres of textile technology. “I didn’t realize it would be this big,” said Prof. Tao. “I hope the success of Nu-Torque makes entrepreneurs understand that technology is not something intangible and impractical. Technology actually contributes to their competitiveness.”