Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019 - 52

FOCUS

ADVANCED TEXTILES

Dr. Debraj De and Dr. Sajal K. Das have
developed a Care Chair. It's designed to
monitor the daily behavior and mental
health of rehabilitation patients as well as the
elderly in their own homes or in assisted living
facilities. Sensors embedded in a cushion that
slips over the back of the chair are used to
detect users' emotional state through their
activities. According to Dr. De, "When we
move, subtle movements can indicate our
mental state."
Writing in the early part of the last
century, Swiss-French architect, designer
and urban planner Le Corbusier said, "The
problem of the house is the problem of the
epoch. The equilibrium of society today
depends upon it." He is now considered
one of the pioneers of modern architecture.
Technology has prompted innovations in
building forms, improved safety, and brought

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Fall 2019!

A brand-new format!
The inaugural Geosynthetics Conference: CASE STUDIES,
which will run March 8-10, 2020, in Charleston, S.C.,
is a must-attend event for geotechnical practitioners,
designers, regulators, contractors and installers.
EXPAND your knowledge
EXPLORE in-depth 30-minute case studies
CONNECT with industry colleagues
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52 REVIEW JUNE 2019

added convenience and communication. The
question that needs to be asked is, "'Smart'
to what purpose?" Le Corbusier's vision
that architecture should engender a state of
equilibrium in society is a good place to start.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS
With more awareness concerning the
environmental and health issues, the textile
industry has turned its focus to alternative
materials for construction-related applications
that are sustainable. For acoustic and insulation
products, fiberglass high-loft nonwovens are
typically used. With variables in toxicity for
these and other construction materials, natural
products are getting more attention.
The United States cotton sector has been
a pioneer in looking into cotton as insulation
mats for infrastructure and automobile
applications. Waste and discounted (low
micronaire) cottons are being exploited. The
United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) laboratory in New Orleans has
developed carded needle-punched fabrics
from blends of natural fibers and synthetics.
Results have shown that cotton nonwovens
and polyurethane foams enhance the
acoustic absorption capabilities of floor
linings, showing that natural fibers can
find industrial applications.
Similarly, with stringent end-of-life
requirements in automobiles and other
industrial products, more and more
environmentally friendly materials for fibers
and binders are being used. The Nonwovens
and Advanced Materials Laboratory at Texas
Tech University has investigated the possibility
of using Texas coarse wool for weather and
acoustic insulation products, creating valueadded applications for natural fibers beyond
their regular fiber-to-fashion supply chain.
An interesting project led by Professor
Rajagopalan Vasudevan of Thiagarajar
College of Engineering in Madurai, India,
is utilizing recycled plastics and plastic waste
as reinforcing materials in road construction.
This project finds new applications for plastic,
thereby reducing the environmental load.
Plastic wastes are made into cost-effective
road-building blocks. Several states in India
are using the plastic "road blocks," and
countries such as The Netherlands are taking
note of this development.


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Specialty Fabrics Review June 2019

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