Nonwovens and Advanced Materials
The advanced materials laboratory at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health focuses on fundamental and applied research activities on developing sophisticated materials that help with improving human health and the environment. The laboratory utilizes burgeoning and cutting-edge techniques such as nano science and nonwovens technology. Research activities are truly multidisciplinary in nature involving environmental toxicology, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical sciences. The nonwovens laboratory houses the “state-of-the-art” needle punching and through-air thermal bonding machines. The laboratory has carried out fundamental and applied research on nonwovens technologies. Light weight nonwovens fabrics that find advanced applications such as chemical warfare and toxic chemicals decontamination wipes, inner liner for protective clothing, and filtration fabrics have been successfully developed. nonwovens technologies available at TIEHH are being used to develop value-added products from cotton, wool and their blends. A research project is underway to develop a cotton-based light weight chemical decontamination wipe. The research activity on the development of novel nonwovens chemical decontamination wipe has received international recognition. "Textile World Magazine" has featured the decontamination wipe as the “Quality Fabric of the Month” in the April 2004 issue. TIEHH is the leading research institution that utilizes nonwovens technologies for developing protective and barrier materials.
Interesting research activities utilizing “nanotechnology” involve the development of nanofibers and nano metal oxide comporites that find
sophisticated applications such as self-destructive nanofilters, biodegradable drug delivery systems, etc.
Fiber-based filters and membranes are being investigated to evaluate their filtration capabilities against contaminants such as perchlorates and arsenic. A Ph.D. level project is underway to come up with simple analytical techniques and solutions to counteract arsenic problems in ground water. Research on countermeasures to arsenic contamination is an important research endeavor which has global support.
The advanced materials laboratory has “state-of-the-art” research tools to carry out the aforementioned research activities. Research results have been published in reputable peer-reviewed journals in the field. The laboratory has most modern H1 technology needle punching and thermalbording nonwovens machines. Lab model electrospinning equipment is available to undertake research on nanofibers. Analytical instruments such as Pyris1 thermogravimetric analyzer, chemical breakthrough tester are available for students. Graduate students carry out hands-on research using modern research equipment.
The laboratory undertakes both fundamental and applied research on materials that impact the human health and environment. These research endeavors have resulted in two US patents so far.
Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar
Exchange students and scientists from Germany, Korea, and India visit the laboratory for short term research activities.
Lab Group Publications
Development of Cotton Nonwoven Composite Fabric for Toxic Chemical Decontamination and Characterization of its Adsorption Capabilities