New technologies make textiles interactive and smarter

July 1, 2018

Textiles are well established as passive materials offering comfort and protection, as well as design and fashion choices. With strong interest in promoting textile manufacturing and enhancing the utility and performance of textiles, academia and government researchers have initiated efforts to enable them to be active as well. Textiles that can provide functional performance properties, …

Redefining textiles

June 1, 2018

New materials and manufacturing processes give the word “textile” new meaning. Textile technology is undergoing a revolution, with innovative structures, raw materials and manufacturing platforms creating new fabrics that defy old-school definitions. Introductory textile science classes teach that textiles are materials that can be woven, knit, crocheted, knotted or felted from yarns spun from cellulose, …

Developing NASA’s next-generation spacesuit

May 1, 2018

Human space exploration is one of the most ambitious and exciting endeavors upon which we’ve ever embarked, and it has always been an integral part of the U.S. space program. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent our first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight in 1961, and eight years later landed a …

Academia and business forge new alliances

April 1, 2018

From small startups to global companies, academia and business forge alliances. Early in 2018, Greensboro, N.C.-based VF Corp. and North Carolina State University (NC State) announced a strategic, multi-year partnership to “support student development at NC State and advance apparel and textiles innovation within VF,” the company says. It will also bring $1 million to …

IPC committee seeks comments on e-textiles industry standard

March 1, 2018

In July 2017, IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries) hosted the first web meeting of the IPC E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee. Formed by volunteers from the e-textiles community, the group had approached IPC with interest in developing industry standards for e-textiles. IPC was chosen because it is a developer of consensus-based international industry standards for electronics. It …

New substrates for smart fabrics

January 1, 2018

Manufacturers of smart fabrics are looking for new, novel textile substrates. A key takeaway from the Smart Fabrics Program and E-Textiles Workshop at the 2017 IFAI Expo was the symbiotic relationship between smart technologies and the development of suitable textile substrates to facilitate the desired function. While the fashion apparel business has become increasingly commodity-driven, …

Training and education for the high-tech textile industry

December 1, 2017

According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index (GMCI) report, the United States looks set to overtake China as the world’s most competitive manufacturing nation within five years. The textile industry is a significant part of that repositioning in its moves to bring manufacturing back to North America. It is not enough, however, to bring …

A new NAFTA?

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to improve U.S. trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since taking office and subsequently threatening to withdraw the United States from NAFTA unless the terms were renegotiated, Mexico and Canada have been cajoled to revisit the deal. The first round of tripartite talks commenced …

Fabrics go multifunctional

October 31, 2017

Textiles have evolved from being commodity materials to providing an array of benefits, including additional comfort and protection, improved hygiene and support for health care. The innate nature of fibers can provide certain special characteristics—cotton adds breathability and a smooth hand, and wool offers thermal comfort, for example. But due to the growing need for …

Eco-friendly antimicrobials and sustainable solutions

October 1, 2017

Antimicrobial properties are fast becoming a required treatment in textiles for applications that range from hospital drapes and linen to contract and domestic textiles as well as clothing. While offering protection from germs is a positive factor, there has been some disquiet concerning the environmental impact of antimicrobial treatments. In response, fiber and fabric manufacturers …