On a larger scale

May 9, 2017

Keeping a person warm, cooled and therefore safe in extreme environmental conditions is no small matter. I speak from personal experience, as I have a lake cabin in northern Minnesota. The temperature has been known to hit -40°F. Don’t even think about the wind chill index at that temperature. Of course, I don’t think about …

What to do when

April 7, 2017

Patent law – in fact, understanding the broader topic of intellectual property protection – is complicated and virtually impossible to cover in a single article. But we can point you in a direction and get you started on the right path in a single article, which is exactly what patent lawyer David Crowe has done …

‘Smart’ has caché

March 10, 2017

I admit it. I was drawn to advanced textiles because of “e-textiles.” That was the only kind of smart textile yet developed, at least that I knew about. I’ve since learned that there are many kinds of advanced textiles with “whiz-bang” appeal. In fact, just about every day I hear of a new technology, fiber or …

As natural as breathing

February 10, 2017

All moving things generate kinetic energy. Ok, that’s obvious. … The human body itself is a reliable source of energy. Not the first thing that jumps to mind. … The most consistent energy source in our body is … breathing. Let that settle for a minute, and then read our feature, “Textile integration of piezoelectric …

The “magic” of carbon fiber

January 6, 2017

I read up on carbon fiber basics to write this, even though I’ve been covering carbon fiber, its uses and products, for several years. I still don’t quite understand why it’s so strong and lightweight, but I suppose that’s a little like asking why the sky is blue. There is an explanation, but I probably …

Making medical miracles

December 9, 2016

When you think about it, it’s so logical. Of course the textiles industry would be a critical participant in responding to the needs of modern medicine. High performance textiles are everywhere in this environment, from the scrubs and lab coats worn by every health care provider to privacy curtains and disposable drapes in hospitals and …

The textile testing challenge

November 4, 2016

Standards for textiles are a good thing. People would agree, generally, that this is true. But this is not really a yes-or-no question, either. Establishing standards that fit today’s materials and end products – and staying on top of all the performance capabilities possible – is a relentless challenge for those who participate in this …

Naturally brilliant

October 7, 2016

If nature has figured out a pretty good way to do something, it would make sense to try and copy it, right? Lizards that change color for camouflage … moisture that beads up and rolls right off a lotus leaf … the aerodynamics of a humpback whale, pirouetting under water … tree frogs that climb …

Priorities change

September 9, 2016

I am writing this while visiting at an army installation; I’ve visited others, as well. I didn’t grow up around the military, so it’s all a little new to me, and it’s impressive. I don’t get to see the inner workings of the Army, but I’ve met quite a few soldiers and I’ve learned a …

Small scale, big ideas

August 5, 2016

The Minnesota Vikings football team now has a new $1 billion stadium that boasts the largest transparent ethylene-tetraflouroethylene (ETFE) roof in the nation. This relatively new structural fabric doesn’t degrade under UV light, atmospheric pollution or extreme temperatures. It’s expected to last as long as 50 years with minimal maintenance. This is a more sophisticated …