How can a textile be protective?

September 10, 2018

For the uninitiated, the idea that fabric can be “protective” may seem like an oxymoron. We know, however, that protective textiles of many kinds play crucial roles in a range of applications. But that’s hardly news to you. What may be news is the growth of the safety and protective textiles market: strong, steady and …

The right word

August 20, 2018

As a writer it’s irksome to run out of words to say what you want to say. I don’t run out of words, generally, but sometimes I can’t find just the right word to say exactly what I mean. In the English language, you would think that would never happen, but I use a handful …

The case for R and D investment

August 6, 2018

The following is a letter to the editor of Specialty Fabrics Review by Donald L. Sturgeon, Ph.D., president of Multifibers LLC. It is in response to an article I wrote for the Review about IFAI’s Smart Fabrics Conference in April 2018. I found Mr. Sturgeon’s letter particularly interesting – and timely – because I had just …

Ubiquitous, for good reason

July 9, 2018

I’m going to guess that you use some kind of textile composite every single day—maybe many times a day. (Here’s a hint: if you’re caring for a baby or small child, it’s even more likely.) We are dependent upon textiles being a part of the material makeup of flexible composites (obviously) and rigid composites (not …

Sharing the future with robotics

June 11, 2018

“Robot.” What comes to mind? An R2-D2-type character? Something encased in metal that traverses the terrain in a clearly non-human way? Maybe you picture a sci-fi movie depicting an AI character so smart that it overthrows the human characters in a dramatic coup. Time to rethink that picture in your head and replace it with a …

Measuring success

May 7, 2018

The Smart Fabrics Summit April 24 in Washington, D.C., was a highly successful event in my opinion, and I’m not just saying that because IFAI was one of the sponsors. I came home grateful that I had had the opportunity to be there. Of course, my ultimate agenda—information I can turn into news—is different from …

How textiles get smarter

April 9, 2018

Advanced Textiles Source was launched to provide information about the most sophisticated textiles in the industry, and, specifically, new developments and trends in materials, technologies and end products. Increasingly, I find myself talking about smart fabrics as research in this segment is expanding at an impressive rate, and breakthroughs are announced with some regularity. Part of …

What is a textile?

March 12, 2018

Easy answers: woven, knit or felted materials, generally composed of yarn or fibers. Hmm. Nonwovens, then? Same deal, only not knitted or woven. Sometimes. Felted, then? How about films? Plastics, generally? Shall I go on? Regardless of your take on this question, I would challenge you to find two dictionary definitions of the word “textile” …

NASA wants you!

February 12, 2018

About a week ago, SpaceX successfully launched its first Falcon Heavy booster. The private aerospace company may now claim ownership of the most powerful rocket, launched from the same site in Florida that was used for NASA’s Apollo missions. As much as it was a successful flight, the rocket’s second stage sent the rocket’s payload …

Collaboration is where it’s at

January 8, 2018

We’re going to start this year out with a one-question test: Name five institutions of higher learning/research institutions that have industry partners. You have 20 seconds. Go. Done? Maybe some of you named more than five. Maybe as many as 10. With a longer time limit, you might have been able to fill a page …