A new company has been set up to speed the commercialisation of graphene-enhanced textile membranes, opening up new opportunities in the market for smart textiles.

The launch of Directa Textile Solutions (DTS) follows the EUR60,000 (US$64,555) acquisition of a 60% stake in textile membrane company Osmotek by graphene-based product supplier Directa Plus.

"The establishment of Directa Textile Solutions represents a key milestone of our downstream integration strategy, and another step in the execution of our business plan," says Giulio Cesareo, CEO of Directa Plus.

Graphene, an innovative nanotech material derived from graphite, is the thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity, as well as being both flexible and one of the strongest known materials.

Directa Plus and Novaresin have been working closely over the last year to develop graphene-enhanced textile membranes that are being tested by a range of potential customers.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Directa Plus will be the sole supplier of graphene-based products to Novaresin which will then produce the graphene-enhanced membranes that will be commercialised through DTS. Novaresin will provide the graphene-enhanced membranes exclusively to DTS and is prohibited from selling them directly to third parties.

Novaresin has a factory located in the North of Italy that is capable of producing 7m metres of fabric every year, and is a specialist in lamination where a textile membrane is laminated onto another fabric to enhance its properties, such as providing breathability or waterproofing.

At the start of the year, Directa Plus partnered with sportswear brand Colmar to launch what they claimed is the world's first graphene-enhanced sportswear.

First graphene-enhanced sportswear launches