TIEHH Unveils New Nonwovens And Advanced Materials Lab

The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Lubbock, Texas-based Texas Tech
University has opened a 4,000-square-foot fabric laboratory to house research and development of
nonwovens-based products for military and civilian use. Launched on April 6, the Nonwovens and
Advanced Materials Laboratory features an air-conditioning and humidification system, contoured
needlezone needlepunching technology and thermalbonding capabilities.

“We are exclusive in the way we’re set up here with the unique needlepunch nonwoven
technology and access to cotton,” said TIEHH Director Ron Kendall. “This technology has been used
successfully to develop products such as our nonwoven decontamination wipe, Fibertect™. The need
for decontamination wipes, such as the kind we’ve created here at TIEHH, were a top priority for
the Department of Defense. Years ago, we began the research, developed a product and met a top
national security issue. Now we’re going to continue that research with this laboratory.”

Fibertect technology, developed by TIEHH associate professor and lab manager Seshadri
Ramkumar, can be used to create products using a range of fibers to suit various requirements and
uses. In a recent evaluation of several decontamination products, the Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory tested a Fibertect wipe featuring an activated carbon core sandwiched between a layer of
absorbent polyester and one of absorbent cellulose. When tested with mustard gas and other toxic
chemicals, results revealed Fibertect out-performed 30 other decontamination products, including
those materials currently used in military kits.

“One of the main focuses of this lab will be used to develop new products from cotton and
wool, such as thermal and acoustic insulation pads, and automotive and defense textiles,” Ramkumar
said. “Our aim is to find value-added applications for products made of cotton grown on the High

May/June 2009