he College of Textiles’ Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science (TECS) department was
formed about 10 years ago, when the department of Textile Chemistry and the department of Textile
Engineering and Science merged.
Of the 77 1997-98 bachelor’s of science graduates, 34 (44 percent) graduated with honors.
Demand for these graduates is high, as indicated by the greater than 90-percent placement rate at
the time of graduation.
It offers three undergraduate degree programs: Textile Chemistry, Textile Engineering and
Textile Materials Science. The focus for all three programs is that the students receive a strong
fundamental science and engineering education, to which the technical textile education is added.
Hands-on research and development allows students
to gain insight into the professional world of textiles.
Textile chemistry students may choose to emphasize polymer chemistry, three different
options in dyeing and finishing, or a general textile chemistry option that is certified by the
American Chemical Society.
“Our textile chemistry program is by far the largest in the United States; it may be the
largest in the free world,” said Keith Beck, professor and head of textile engineering, chemistry
and science department. “We supply the majority of the people for the wet processing side of the
In the textile engineering program, the focus is on machine design and process improvement.
“One of the unique features of the engineering program is that it is one of only two
Accrediting Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited programs in the United States,”
Georgia Tech was the first textile engineering program to be ABET accredited and Auburn
University’s program is currently under consideration for accreditation.
The Textile Materials Science program focuses on product development.
Capstone courses in all three programs prepare students to be immediately productive when
they enter the workforce.
“Our capstone courses are senior-year courses that integrate the concepts from all of the
major courses in a very realistic, industrial setting,” Beck said.
For Textile Chemistry students, these courses involve actual wet processing or polymer
processing in a pilot plant. Textile engineers go through a two-semester course, where they design
a solution to an industrial problem and build it.
Textile Materials Science students design a new textile product to solve a particular
problem or meet a particular need.
This fall, in an attempt to integrate students from the five College of Textiles bachelor’s
of science degree programs and to increase student awareness to the rapidly changing face of the
global textile industry, an experimental course was created.
Taught by Dr. Joel Williams, a recently retired industry executive, this class divided
students into teams, each containing a chemist, an engineer, a textile materials scientist, a
technologist and a management student.
Each team was asked to prepare a plan to put a sheeting plant in either the United States or
in a country of their choice. Once their plans — including a plant layout for taking fibers to
finished sheets — were complete, the class determined the best location for the plant.
Their final exercise was a presentation of each case and their final recommendations to a
corporate board of review (the dean, department head, and an associate dean). As a result of this
experience the students learned the benefit of teamwork and discovered that large-scale decisions,
such as plant locations, require significant outside-of-the-classroom information.
“The course was certainly a success,” Beck said. “We think that there are things that we can
take from this course and either integrate into our current curricula or develop a stand-alone
course. Developing a three-hour, stand-alone is difficult because we would have to integrate in
into the curricula which is already very tight hour-wise.”
Graduate degree programs available to students in the TECS department include master’s of
science degrees in Textile Chemistry and Textile Engineering; master’s of textiles; and Ph.D.
degrees in fiber and polymer science or textile technology management.
In addition to these programs, a five-year bachlor’s of science, textile engineering or
master’s of science in management and a five-year bachelor’s of science or master’s of science in
textile chemistry are available for exceptional students.
Major research projects are funded by the National Textile Center, the Army Research Office,
the Environmental Protection Agency, and many industrial contracts. In 1997-98 the TECS faculty was
awarded $3.32 million in research funding, 54 percent of which was industry-sponsored.
In the same period, the TECS faculty and their graduate students generated a total of 48
separate publications in scientific and professional journals, made 41 presentations to national
meetings, 27 presentations at international meetings, were issued four patents and had four patents
Specialized facilities and capabilities in the department include the Thermal Protection and
Clothing Comfort Center, high-speed melt extrusion, a supercritical fluid dyeing machine, and a
real-time dyebath monitoring and control laboratory.