Tallinn University of Technology

A doctoral thesis is underway at the Department of Materials and Environmental Technology, the aim of which is to develop a denim fabric that will be more resistant to the wear and tear of everyday life and the production of which would also have a smaller carbon footprint.


The research by doctoral student Nele Mandre shows that science can successfully be incorporated into daily life and that science knows no bounds. Mandre is looking for the best possible denim fabric and the best treatment process.

There is extensive research behind even such an elementary thing as denim and, thanks to years of practical experience and a high level of international cooperation, soon a research project that will change the dogmas of science will be completed and anyone who wears denim will be able to experience its results personally.

Outside of academic life, Mandre works in the product development team of Denim Dream and knows denim and denim products like the back of her hand. In her daily work, she has been researching the defects of designer brand products for years. This is what inspired the young scientist to further research this material and try to make it better.

“The denim fabric that is in use today mainly consists of cotton, but it is precisely due to this and the treatment process of denim products that the denim fabric and products have several common defects. The question is, what would be the best combination of different fabrics,” explained Mandre.

“Denim should be durable but stretchy and breathable at the same time – these are mutually exclusive parameters. As a result of my testing of woven fabrics with different fibre blends, I have come to the conclusion that good denim is made from four different fibres: cotton, elastane, polyester and viscose,” Mandre claimed.

“It is not insignificant that the production of cotton uses a large amount of water, thus adding synthetic fibres to denim is essential to reduce the amount of cotton and to improve the properties of the material,” she added.

In addition to comfort and durability, the young scientist is also researching laser technology in regard to denim fading.

“To achieve the desired effect, chemical and mechanical processes are used to treat denim, however this weakens the fabric and shortens the life of the garment and some washing techniques are harmful to the environment. That is why I am trying to be a creative engineer and think sustainably,” Mandre explained.

The doctoral thesis is conducted in collaboration with one of the largest denim manufacturers in Turkey and their factory in Kahramanmaras. “All the materials tested as part of the doctoral thesis have been specially produced in that factory for the doctoral thesis,” concluded Mandre.

Denim Dream ja TalTech