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A boll of cotton matures in the field  (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips...

Cotton has held an important significance for mankind for thousands of years. Not only are all parts of the cotton plant economically useful, but the multitude of uses and processes it can be put to make it America's number one value-added crop. Over the years we have crushed and extruded and woven cotton into many forms, but even today scientists and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we use cotton; from reducing pollution, insulating homes, and cleaning up oil spills to feeding the hungry. Here's a look at seven new companies being championed for their sustainability by Cotton Incorporated.  Read More

Teijin's new lightweight firefighting suit

Japanese manufacturer Teijin, in cooperation with firefighting apparel maker Akao Co. Ltd., has announced the development of new firefighting suit that reportedly sets new world standards in both protection from extreme heat and lightweight wearability. Made from TRIPROTECH aramid fibers, Teijin's new suit consists of multiple key layers with even more clever monikers to boot, like GBARRIERLIGHT, TECHWAVE, and TECHNORA. The technical details of the layers' composition are somewhat hairy, but the upshot is that Teijin's improved aramid fibers have resulted in a firefighting suit that weights only 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and is 60 percent more effective in preventing burns than the company's prior lightweight suits.  Read More

Hilde Faerevik (left) and the SINTEF Safe@Sea team

Working as a commercial fisherman is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. There are numerous ways in which they can end up in the water, with their shipmates (if they even have any) not noticing until it’s too late. That, or their boat can simply sink. In any case, fishermen need all the help they can get when it comes to safety, so a 14-group research consortium is developing “intelligent clothing” for them to wear at sea.  Read More

The auxetic blast-proof curtain being put to the test

OK, so first of all, how can a fabric possibly get thicker when stretched? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics? Not, it turns out, when that material is auxetic. Cat skin and shin bones also apparently possess this quality. The University of Exteter, in collaboration with their spin-off company Auxetix Ltd, have developed an auxetic blast-proof curtain. If a bomb were to go off near such a curtain, the pressure wave would stretch the fabric outwards, thus thickening it and making it better able to hold back flying glass and other debris. The curtain is intended to be fitted over windows of buildings that are terrorist targets, or that are subject to events such as hurricanes.  Read More

Clothing incorporating Wearable Absence technology

You’ve had a hard day at the office, your spouse is currently over 2,000 miles away and now your boss says he wants you to work late. It’s all you can do to contain your anger until you get into the bathroom, whereupon you let loose with a string of red-faced, high-cardio profanity. At that point, your spouse talks to you via your shirt. “Take it easy, it’s all right,” they coo from your collar, as they play your favorite song, and photos of them scroll across your chest. Hey, it could happen. No, really, it could happen, thanks to the Wearable Absence project. Researchers involved in the program are working on developing intelligent textiles, that comfort the wearer by evoking memories of absent loved ones.  Read More

The five pieces show the transformation in stages from wedding dress to fashion garment an...

Aiming to address the issue of “throwaway fashion” and its impact on the environment as landfill, students at Sheffield Hallam University have combined fashion design with engineering to create a dissolvable wedding dress. This truly "wear once" garment can be converted into five different fashion pieces before being dissolved in water leaving no environmental footprint.  Read More

A piece of the boron-nitride nanotube yarn

Not satisfied with your Kevlar body armor? Well, you may be in luck. American researchers have used lasers to create the world’s first practical macroscopic yarns from boron nitride fibers. The development could unlock the potential of the material for a wide variety of applications, including radiation-shielding for spacecraft, solar energy collection, and stronger body armor. If the supplied photo is anything to go by, it also does a great job at holding up a quarter.  Read More

A prototype of the sanitary pad, produced by textile engineering student David W. Allen, i...

For most women the obligatory monthly visit that is the menstrual cycle is a quietly endured and discreetly dealt with occurrence. Feminine products in every size, shape and color, and available for purchase from supermarkets to public restrooms, lessen the burden. But contrast this reality with that of women living in impoverished countries for whom these commonplace hygiene products are unaffordable luxuries. This glaring discrepancy has prompted Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), together with researchers from North Carolina State University, to create affordable, quality sanitary pads to ease the lives of millions of women who, for several days a month, know another kind of period pain.  Read More

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