Using what’s available

October 11, 2021

By Janet Preus Scientists know that the body generates a lot of energy, and if that energy could be harvested efficiently, a person could conceivably provide the energy needed to power devices he or she is carrying. For workers in the field, warfighters, athletes, people with medical conditions and others, this kind of technology could …

Catching up with nature

September 27, 2021

by Janet Preus A relatively new success story in the world of advanced textiles is that of phase change materials. They’ve even earned their own acronym – PCMs, which, in fact covers quite a range of materials designed to provide specific functionalities by responding to various environmental conditions. At the heart of PCMs are the …

Breakthroughs don’t happen overnight

August 9, 2021

by Janet Preus I have often thought that I would have liked being a foreign correspondent for a news service. That would be in my younger days. In fact, I would have volunteered to cover stories in areas of conflict, which is the only scenario where I can see myself wearing body armor, but you …

The new Space race

July 12, 2021

by Janet Preus The U.S. has been seriously engaged in space exploration since 1958 with the founding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA as we all know it. That act of Congress followed the 1957 launching of the satellite Sputnik by the Soviet Union.  And the space race was on.  I stood …

Essentially hidden

June 14, 2021

by Janet Preus Several years ago, IFAI Expo co-located with the composites show, JEC. The IFAI board chair took me around the JEC show floor, introduced me to some of the company representatives there and explained a bit more about why these two shows were a fit.  “All composites have textiles in them,” he said, …

Take care—of your hands

May 10, 2021

by Janet Preus An elderly woman I knew long ago once worked at a place she just called “Hands.” I know the workers didn’t make much money, but I think they were mostly elderly, female and enjoyed the socializing as much as anything. It was all “hand work,” and I’ve thought now and then about …

Acronyms and quotation marks

April 12, 2021

by Janet Preus Not that many years ago, the phrase “flexible hybrid electronics” didn’t exist. One can say this about a variety of textile-related phrases. Some might argue that FHEs, as they’re abbreviated, are not really a textile product at all, and technically they may be right in many cases. But FHEs are, in fact, …

Be encouraged

March 22, 2021

by Janet Preus I grew up learning all about the Industrial Revolution, which (I was taught at the time) began in England and spread from there across Europe and beyond to the shores of America. Today that seems like an amazingly simplistic version of our manufacturing history, but that’s the way I remember it in …

It’s what you don’t see

February 8, 2021

by Janet Preus When you slam a car door (which you’re not supposed to do, but we all do it now and then), you may notice how loud the door slam is, or is not. If it’s quiet, it’s because there are high quality acoustic textile materials carefully placed to absorb the sound and keep …

New Year’s magic

January 11, 2021

by Janet Preus There were four of us sitting by a bonfire in front of our cabin late on New Year’s Day. It was miraculously warm for early January in Minnesota. On another recent New Year’s, we entertained ourselves by running outside and throwing a cup of boiling water in the air for the fun …