Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Receives Its First-Ever Spider Silk Shipment Its Vietnamese Production Facility

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Prodigy Textiles reaches major milestone delivering first fibers to Company Headquarters

ANN ARBOR, Mich., – February 23, 2021– Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (OTCQB: KBLB) (“the Company” or “Kraig Labs”), the biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of spider silk, announces that the Company received its first small shipment of spider silk from Prodigy textiles, its wholly-owned Vietnamese subsidiary.

The Company has received fiber requests from a broad range of interested parties, including companies that produce products in the fields of sports apparel, industrial textiles, first responder supplies, medical products, and other manufacturers.  In order to meet this demand, the Company established Prodigy Textiles to scale up the production of its recombinant spider silk fibers, threads, and textiles.

The Company’s operations at its Prodigy Textiles facility are now moving forward to significantly expand the Company’s spider silk production.  The Company expects to begin filling the backlog of material requests, including requests from Polartec LLC and MtheMovement, as this added capacity comes online.

“I want to thank the Prodigy Textiles team for making this milestone possible and setting the stage for our expansion. This helps us transition from being the leading developer of spider silk technologies to the producer and supplier of high quality spider silk fibers,” said Jon Rice, the Company’s Chief Operations Officer.  “Now we can focus on meeting the substantial demand for spider silk and solidifying market channel partnerships to reach our goal to develop and bring new products to market.”

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h/t Carryology

Milliken Agilus MTP Protective Fabric

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Ultra-Flexible. Remarkably Agile. All-in-one Protective Fabric.

A breakthrough in flexible knife resistant material, Agilus® MTP provides a new level of customizable, multi-threat protective defense. The patented coating technology on p-aramid fabrics actively slows and resists the penetration of knife, spike and ballistic threats.

• Achieve protection without restricting speed or ability to bend and move
• Enhanced comfort, flexibility and ease of movement makes vests more wearable
• Allows p-aramid fabrics to achieve knife and spike resistance while maintaining ballistic protection
• Material is coated on one side, and available in rolled form to optimize ease of handling and manufacturing
• Can readily hybridize with other materials for desired level of threat protection
• Tumble testing per NIJ 0101.06, Section 5 passes stab testing after 10,000 cycles

UF PRO Tactical Materials Glossary

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

UF PRO has created a glossary containing a wide range of materials used in tactical clothing.

Check it out and bookmark it. It’s a great resource.

Blue Force Gear Expands Laser Cutting Capacity to Meet Industry Demand

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

BFG is poised to immediately license and produce patented Helium Whisper™ attachment technology to manufacturers with increased laser cutting capacity.

Savannah, GA – 11 February 2021

Customers and Industry Partners have spoken, BFG listened.  In response to overwhelming demand from military, first responder, commercial and third-party manufacturers Blue Force Gear has invested to expand laser cutting operations.  Not only have more cutting machines been purchased but additional team members have been brought on staff to support 24-hour seven day a week operations. Since 2012, Blue Force Gear has been licensing Helium Whisper technology to industry partners like Velocity Systems, Safariland and other premium brands.

With multiple US and International patents and patents pending, the Helium Whisper® Attachment System is recognized across the globe by manufacturers and end users alike. The design and materials of the Helium Whisper Attachment System allows for up to a 70% weight savings over traditional MOLLE systems with the same or greater strength. The system also allows for significantly less bulk over legacy pouches.

“Laser cutting is the future. We’re able to cut patterns for gear, like the one-piece Helium Whisper backer, that were never before possible.”
-Alec Coin, Laser Production Manager

The Helium Whisper Attachment System was designed and commercially released in 2011 by Blue Force Gear. Since then, Blue Force Gear has been revolutionizing how MOLLE pouches and accessories were previously imagined with the introduction of ULTRAcomp®, a radical new laminate with numerous innovative characteristics like increased strength, superior abrasion resistance and immunity to staining and liquid absorption. Manufacturers who take advantage of this technology receive the benefits of simplified manufacturing, less material waste, less production time per piece and greater piece to piece precision. These benefits can be easily obtained through Blue Force Gear’s streamlined, simple licensing process.

“As ‘Lighten The Load” has received focus from DoD and Congress, more and more equipment manufacturers are adopting Helium Whisper to meet stringent weight reduction requirements.  Helium Whisper is increasingly mentioned by name as the go-to solution and our licensing program is making it easy for other gear makers to remain competitive.”
– Doug Duggan, Director, OEM & International Sales.

Contact Blue Force Gear today to start producing pouches with the lightest, most elegant MOLLE attachment system in the industry.

Kombucha Tea Sparks Creative Materials Research Solution

Monday, February 1st, 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Kombucha tea, a trendy fermented beverage, inspired researchers to develop a new way to generate tough, functional materials using a mixture of bacteria and yeast similar to the kombucha mother used to ferment tea.

With Army funding, using this mixture, also called a SCOBY, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, engineers at MIT and Imperial College London produced cellulose embedded with enzymes that can perform a variety of functions, such as sensing environmental pollutants and self-healing materials.

The team also showed that they could incorporate yeast directly into the cellulose, creating living materials that could be used to purify water for Soldiers in the field or make smart packaging materials that can detect damage.

“This work provides insights into how synthetic biology approaches can harness the design of biotic-abiotic interfaces with biological organization over multiple length scales,” said Dr. Dawanne Poree, program manager, Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “This is important to the Army as this can lead to new materials with potential applications in microbial fuel cells, sense and respond systems, and self-reporting and self-repairing materials.”

The research, published in Nature Materials was funded by ARO and the Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The U.S. Army established the ISN in 2002 as an interdisciplinary research center devoted to dramatically improving the protection, survivability, and mission capabilities of the Soldier and Soldier-supporting platforms and systems.

“We foresee a future where diverse materials could be grown at home or in local production facilities, using biology rather than resource-intensive centralized manufacturing,” said Timothy Lu, an MIT associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of biological engineering.

Researchers produced cellulose embedded with enzymes, creating living materials that could be used to purify water for Soldiers in the field or make smart packaging materials that can detect damage.

These fermentation factories, which usually contain one species of bacteria and one or more yeast species, produce ethanol, cellulose, and acetic acid that gives kombucha tea its distinctive flavor.

Most of the wild yeast strains used for fermentation are difficult to genetically modify, so the researchers replaced them with a strain of laboratory yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. They combined the yeast with a type of bacteria called Komagataeibacter rhaeticus that their collaborators at Imperial College London had previously isolated from a kombucha mother. This species can produce large quantities of cellulose.

Because the researchers used a laboratory strain of yeast, they could engineer the cells to do any of the things that lab yeast can do, such as producing enzymes that glow in the dark, or sensing pollutants or pathogens in the environment. The yeast can also be programmed so that they can break down pollutants/pathogens after detecting them, which is highly relevant to Army for chem/bio defense applications.

“Our community believes that living materials could provide the most effective sensing of chem/bio warfare agents, especially those of unknown genetics and chemistry,” said Dr. Jim Burgess ISN program manager for ARO.

The bacteria in the culture produced large-scale quantities of tough cellulose that served as a scaffold. The researchers designed their system so that they can control whether the yeast themselves, or just the enzymes that they produce, are incorporated into the cellulose structure. It takes only a few days to grow the material, and if left long enough, it can thicken to occupy a space as large as a bathtub.

“We think this is a good system that is very cheap and very easy to make in very large quantities,” said MIT graduate student and the paper’s lead author, Tzu-Chieh Tang.

To demonstrate the potential of their microbe culture, which they call Syn-SCOBY, the researchers created a material incorporating yeast that senses estradiol, which is sometimes found as an environmental pollutant. In another version, they used a strain of yeast that produces a glowing protein called luciferase when exposed to blue light. These yeasts could be swapped out for other strains that detect other pollutants, metals, or pathogens.

The researchers are now looking into using the Syn-SCOBY system for biomedical or food applications. For example, engineering the yeast cells to produce antimicrobials or proteins that could benefit human health.

The MIT-MISTI MIT-Imperial College London Seed Fund and the MIT J-WAFS Fellowship also supported this research.

New PenCott Camouflage Patterns from Hyde Definition and 0241Tactical

Monday, January 18th, 2021

If you follow PenCott Camouflage on social media, then you will have recently seen pictures of two new patterns that were developed with North American environments primarily in mind.

The patterns are DevilDog™ and LeatherNeck™, and are both 4-color variations of the standard PenCott pattern geometry. They were named after popular nicknames for US Marine Corps members, due to the fact that the founder and CEO of 0241Tactical is a USMC veteran.

DevilDog™ is specifically oriented towards high plains, scrub desert, dry bush land, and similar types of terrain with light, sandy soil and sparse vegetation.

LeatherNeck™ on the other hand is designed for more temperate terrain that has a significant amount of brown tones – such as pine forests, mixed woodland with reddish soil, and so on.

Developing new pattern colorways during a period of lockdowns and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation required some flexibility and creativity in the approach we took – not the least because all the work had to be done virtually between team members in the UK and US.

Our starting point was to analyze existing military patterns that have proven effective in North American environments – such as AOR-Universal, MARPAT-Temperate Woodland, CADPAT-Intermediate, Scorpion W2, etc. – comparatively analyzed within the specific types of environments we wanted to address. With this data in hand, we worked up a palette of potential colors, plugged them into the PenCott geometry, and then worked through numerous color combinations to down-select to a shortlist of pattern variations. Using extensive picture-in-picture analysis we ended up with a pattern colorway for each that seemed to be the best option – and also worthy of the names.

With the colors and names established, artwork was sent to 0241Tactical’s digital printing partner in the US and a small trial run of each pattern was printed on ripstop polyester material. The results can now be seen in the form of anoraks, neck gaiters, and beanie hats being offered through 0241Tactical.

With these garments now going out into the real world for field evaluations, we will be able to validate if the colorways are correct or need tweaking before being released for licensing and/or full production with other partners as well. 0241Tactical will also be able to provide various digitally-printed fabrics, such as 500D Cordura® nylon, in the DevilDog and LeatherNeck patterns to other makers as well.

Beyond these new patterns, look out for an expanded offering of GreenZone® fabrics and partners to come in the first half of 2021. We will also be expanding the MetroPolis® offering with webbing and 500D nylon, as well as additional product partners too. And lastly, Helikon-Tex and Direct Action will continue to expand their WildWood® product offerings this year as well.

“Is My Gore-Tex Leaking?” By UF PRO

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

Our friends at UF PRO put together this great video entitled, “Is my Gore-Tex leaking?” It explains what Gore-Tex is, how it works, and how to take care of it.

Learn about UF PRO’s Monsoon Gear featuring Gore-Tex materials and construction.

UF PRO Rain Jackets

UR PRO Rain Pants

Army-funded Smart Fabric Collects Space Dust on International Space Station

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. –– An Army-funded smart fiber being tested on the International Space Station could be used to develop space dust telescopes and allow astronauts to feel through their pressurized suits.

Researchers at the Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed an acoustic fabric so sensitive to vibrations that it can detect impacts from microscopic high velocity space particles. A more earthly application of these fabrics could be for blast detection and in the future act as sensitive microphones for directional gunshot detection.

The fabric system contains thermally drawn vibration-sensitive fibers that are capable of converting mechanical vibration energy into electric energy. When micrometeoroids or space debris hit the fabric, the fabric vibrates, and the acoustic fiber generates an electrical signal.

“This is an exquisite example of harnessing nanoscience for technology development that bridges the physical and digital domains,” said James Burgess, ISN program manager for the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “Delivering revolutionary methodologies that result from foundational science is always one of our main priorities, and the opportunity to collect data from space dust using a fiber sensor as a key building block of the system is truly exciting.”

The U.S. Army established the ISN in 2002 as an interdisciplinary research center devoted to dramatically improving the protection, survivability, and mission capabilities of the Soldier and Soldier-supporting platforms and systems.

The acoustic fiber was developed through ISN projects aimed at building next-generation fibers and fabrics for Soldier uniforms and battle gear that could detect a variety of physiological parameters such as heart rate and respiration as well as external sounds like gunshots and explosions.

“Traditional telescopes use light to learn about distant objects; this fabric uses space dust analysis to learn about space,” said Dr. Yoel Fink, professor of Materials Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT. “This is a great example of how ISN projects allow us to be highly responsive to opportunities and meet challenges far beyond what we initially imagined.”

MIT graduate student Juliana Cherston, the project’s leader, applied another piece of ISN technology—the Laser-induced Particle Impact Test array, which uses lasers to accelerate tiny particles to supersonic or even hypersonic speeds, and allows researchers to image and analyze their impact on target materials—to demonstrate that the fabric system could accurately measure the impulse of small particles travelling at hundreds of meters per second.

Scientists are now using ISN facilities to test the sensitivity of the acoustic fabric for impacts from micro-particles with similar kinematics as certain types of high velocity space dust. Simultaneously, researchers are baselining the fiber sensor’s resiliency to the harsh environment of Low Earth Orbit on the International Space Station.

For this initial launch, the research team worked with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Japanese company Space BD to send a 10 cm by 10 cm sample of the high-tech fabric to the International Space Station, where it was installed on an exterior wall, exposed to the rigors of space. The fabric sample, unpowered for now, will remain on the orbiting laboratory for one year, in order to determine how well these materials survive the harsh environment of low Earth orbit.

The team is also scheduled for an electrically powered deployment of the fabric through sponsorship of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory in late 2021 or early 2022. The International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory works in cooperative agreement with NASA to fully utilize the orbiting platform to bring value to our nation through space-based research and enable a low Earth orbit economy.

 “Thermally drawn multi-material fibers have been developed by our research group at MIT for more than 20 years,” said Dr. Wei Yan, postdoc in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “What makes these acoustic fibers special is their exquisite sensitivity to mechanical vibrations. The fabric has been shown in ground facilities to detect and measure impact regardless of where the space dust impacted the surface of the fabric.”

The white surface of the International Space Station is actually a protective fabric material called Beta cloth, a Teflon-impregnated fiberglass designed to shield spacecraft and spacesuits from the severity of the elements more than 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The research team believes the acoustic fabric could lead to large-area fabrics that accurately measure the impulse on spacecraft of micrometeoroids and space debris travelling at kilometers per second. The smart fabrics may also help provide astronauts with a sense of touch through their pressurized suits by providing sensory data from the exterior of the suit and then mapping that data to haptic actuators on the wearer’s skin.

In one year, these samples will return to Earth for post-flight analysis. The researchers will measure any erosion from atomic oxygen, discoloration from ultraviolet radiation, and changes to fiber sensor performance after one year of thermal cycling.

“It’s easy to assume that since we’re already sending these materials to space, the technology must be very mature,” Cherston said. “In reality, we are leveraging the space environment to complement our important ground-testing efforts. Our focus is on baselining their resiliency to the space environment.”

By US Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs