Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Fidlock HERMETIC Sew-In Pockets

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

In addition to their left- and right-sided versions of Fidlock’s HERMETIC sew-in pockets, they also offer rectangular sew-in pockets, which are ideal for jackets or bags.

The magnetic bar is fixed in place and will remain visible on your product.
+ add-on with a unique look for your overall design
+ no unwanted fabric pockets in front or behind the HERMETIC pocket
+ 100% water- and sandproof
+ self-sealing

New Material Could Mean Lightweight Armor, Protective Coatings

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Army-funded research identified a new material that may lead to lightweight armor, protective coatings, blast shields and other impact-resistant structures.

Researchers at the U.S. Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCaltech and ETH Zürich found that materials formed from precisely patterned nanoscale trusses are tougher than Kevlar and steel.

In experiments, the ultralight structures, called nanoarchitectured materials, absorbed the impact of microscopic projectiles accelerated to supersonic speeds.

“Increasing protection while simultaneously decreasing the weight that soldiers carry is an overreaching theme in our research,” said Dr. James Burgess, ISN program manager for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “This project is a really good example of such efforts where projectile energy absorption is nanostructured mechanism based.”

The research, published in Nature Materials, found that the material prevented the projectiles from tearing through it.

“The same amount of mass of our material would be much more efficient at stopping a projectile than the same amount of mass of Kevlar,” said Dr. Carlos Portela, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, the study’s lead author.

The researchers calculate that the new material absorbs impacts more efficiently than steel, Kevlar, aluminum and other impact-resistant materials of comparable weight.

“The knowledge from this work…could provide design principles for ultra-lightweight impact resistant materials [for use in] efficient armor materials, protective coatings, and blast-resistant shields desirable in defense and space applications,” said co-author Dr. Julia R. Greer, a professor of materials science, mechanics, and medical engineering at Caltech, whose lab fabricated the material.

Nanoarchitected materials are known to feature impressive properties like exceptional lightness and resilience; however, until now, the potential for additional applications has largely been untested.

“We only know about its response in a slow-deformation regime, whereas a lot of their practical use is hypothesized to be in real-world applications where nothing deforms slowly,” Portela said.

To help fill this vital knowledge gap, the research team set out to study nanoarchitected materials undergoing fast deformation, such as that caused by high-velocity impacts. At Caltech, researchers first fabricated a repeating pattern known as a tetrakaidecahedron—a lattice configuration composed of microscopic struts—using two-photo lithography, a technique that uses a high-powered laser to solidify microscopic structures in photosensitive resin.

To test the tetrakaidecahedron’s resilience to extreme, rapid deformation, the team performed experiments at MIT using the ISN-developed laser-induced particle impact array. This device aims an ultrafast laser through a glass slide.. As the laser passes through the slide, it generates a plasma, an immediate expansion of gas that launches the particles toward the target.

By adjusting the laser’s power to control the speed of the microparticle projectiles, the researchers tested microparticle velocities within the supersonic range.

“Some experiments achieved twice the speed of sound, easily,” Portela said.

Using a high-speed camera, the researchers captured videos of the microparticles impacting the nanoarchitected material. They had fabricated material of two different densities. A comparison of the two materials’ impact response, found the denser one to be more resilient, and microparticles tended to embed in the material rather than tear through it.

To get a closer look, the researchers carefully sliced through the embedded microparticles and nanarchitectured target. They found that the struts below the embedded particle had crumpled and compacted in response to the impact, but the surrounding struts remained intact.

“We show the material can absorb a lot of energy because of this shock compaction mechanism of struts at the nanoscale, versus something that’s fully dense and monolithic, not nanoarchitected,” Portela said.

Going forward, Portela plans to explore various nanostructured configurations other than carbon, and ways to scale up the production of these nanostructures, all with the goal of designing tougher, lighter materials.

“Nanoarchitected materials truly are promising as impact-mitigating materials,” Portela said. “There’s a lot we don’t know about them yet, and we’re starting this path to answering these questions and opening the door to their widespread applications.”

The U.S. Army established the MIT Institute for Nanotechnologies in 2002 as an interdisciplinary research center to dramatically improve the protection, survivability and mission capabilities of the Soldier and of Soldier-supporting platforms and systems.

In addition to Army funding through the institute, the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship supported the research.

By U.S. Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Polartec Produces Innovation Timeline

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

A look back at 40 years of textile innovation highlighting partners, products, and people along the way

Polartec®, the premium creator of innovative and sustainable textile solutions, announces the launch of its innovation timeline as part of Polartec’s Peaking Since ‘91 campaign. The timeline begins with the 1981 invention of PolarFleece, highlights the 1991 founding of the Polartec brand, and continues through to present day.

Hosted on and available for publications to embed, the timeline illustrates the creation of the broadest range of performance fabric technologies, collaboration with the world’s leading brands, and the resulting products which have empowered outdoor participants for generations, coinciding with the growth of the modern outdoor industry. 

For the last 30 years, leading brands have consistently turned to Polartec to evolve fleece beyond insulation, to redefine weather protection, or develop the next lightweight, next-to-skin technologies. In that leadership role, Polartec has established itself as the world’s foremost innovator of a wide range of performance fabrics engineered for all conditions, to keep you warm, dry, cool, and safe.

“The modern history of Polartec is one of transformation, from a traditional mill into a performance textile innovator,” said Steve Layton, Polartec President. “We’re excited to have this timeline illustrate the stories of how collaboration with our business partners resulted in iconic fabrics and garments that literally changed what we wear when we go outside.”

The timeline highlights not only those iconic fabric innovations and products, but also the cultural milestones and Polartec-sponsored expeditions along the way. Readers can view vintage Polartec ads and explore some of the past Polartec Challenge Grant winners. 

The Peaking Since ‘91 campaign additionally features advertising, social media, and promotional outreach to core outdoor media, enthusiast groups and clubs. The campaign engages partner brands and consumers, and will culminate with new innovations and collaborations, planned for the back half of the year.

Please click here to view the full timeline.

Warrior West 21 – Soliyarn Smart Clothing

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

Every trade show I attend I have a favorite product or company and my pick for Warrior West 21 is Soliyarn.

This Massachusetts-based tech company was founded on research conducted at UMass Amherst. In a nutshell, they take raw goods and using a vapor technology seamlessly coat a durable, thin film on to textiles. So far they’ve developed conductive, waterproof and anti-microbial coatings.

The conductive tech has been used to heat fabric. The technology works. I put a glove on and the back of my hand immediately began to warm up.

Because there are no cables running through the garment, there’s no need to worry about a cable being cut and losing power. Essentially, the fabric serves as a self-healing circuit. As long as there are fibers still connected, there is a degree of power running through the circuit.

They are currently working with Natick on prototypes of a heated HAHO glove. One of the prototypes seen here is from FirstSpear.

They can also treat the material to be water and oil resistant using a PFC free coating. I watched a demonstration of water being poured on this sample of cotton muslin and the water beaded right off. Not only is the fabric going to remain dry, it’s going to retain it’s comfort and air permeability.

I asked a whole lot of questions like whether or not this will also serve as a data bus. Since this technology is so new, they continue to refine what it can and can’t do. This is a story I definitely plan to follow up on.

Soliyarn technologies are available for unit and agency orders from ADS, Inc.

We’ve Got Your Back – Cordura & HLC

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

When we say CORDURA® is durable, we mean it. That’s why militaries around the world trust CORDURA® Advanced Fabrics to perform on every mission.

For additional information, contact: [email protected] – for samples + marketing materials

IFB Solutions Names Milliken & Company Partner of the Year

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

SPARTANBURG, SC (June 15, 2021)—Milliken & Company has been named Partner of the Year by IFB Solutions. In its 15th year, the prestigious award is given to the partner who has stood out as an organization that has gone beyond the board room to support opportunities for people who are blind. Milliken was selected from more than 400 IFB vendors. 

“It’s an honor to receive an award of this caliber from a partner like IFB,” said Chad McAllister, executive vice president of Milliken & Company and president of the Textile Division. “IFB has shined a light on how to do business for good, going above and beyond to positively impact their community. We are honored to call them a partner and look forward to continuing to support their mission for years to come,” he adds. 

Milliken has been working with IFB, a US-based manufacturer who provides employment to people who are blind or visually impaired, since 2008 as a U.S. military fabric supplier. Since then, the partnership has provided more than 245,000 hours of work for people who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to the business relationship, Milliken has donated more than $30,000 to IFB over the years to support jobs, training and services for the blind. 

“All of us at IFB Solutions are incredibly grateful to the Milliken & Company team for their contributions to our mission. As a non-profit, our mission is to provide opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired in need of training, employment and services. For more than a decade, our partnership with Milliken has provided countless opportunities for adults and children who are blind all over the country resulting in thousands of lives changed for the better,” said David Horton, president and CEO of IFB Solutions. 

Shawmut Corporation Announces New Military & Protective Materials Business Unit

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Initiative Will Focus on Developing High-Performance, US-Made, Technical Fabric Applications for Extreme Environments
West Bridgewater, Mass., June 15, 2021 ? Today, Shawmut Corporation announced the creation of a new Military & Protective Materials Business Unit that will apply the company’s trademark advanced materials, textile manufacturing and process innovation techniques to produce high-quality, US-made, ultra-high-specification and high-performance technical fabric solutions. Shawmut’s military and protective solutions feature waterproof, windproof, flame-resistant and chemical and biological protection applications and are ideal for high-stakes usages required in military and in-the-field professionals who need high-performance gear to safely do their jobs.

This new Military & Protective Materials Business Unit is a natural extension of Shawmut’s 105-year history in advanced materials manufacturing and builds upon the company’s deep experience in high-performance materials innovation, design and manufacturing expertise. Dating back to World War I, Shawmut has been supplying engineered materials and garments for critical military applications. Shawmut is also widely recognized as a leading producer of laminated components for high-performance technical fabric applications, such as wind, flame and water resistance used in rainwear, packs, footwear, body armor and more.

“Military personnel and other high-performing individuals in the utility industry are living and working in a high-spec, high-stakes world. Yet, many of the leading market fabrics and designs for military and protective wear are not up to par with the demands of these jobs,” said James Wyner, CEO of Shawmut. “We’re excited to leverage our expertise in textile engineering, process innovation and commitment to excellence to produce the highest quality materials for the highest performing individuals.”

Shawmut’s Military & Protective Materials division integrates the company’s textile manufacturing, dyeing, finishing and lamination capabilities to develop game-changing new technologies and establish Shawmut as a key player within the US textile and garment industry. The new division positions Shawmut as a catalyst for change and innovation in this highly specialized industry in need of advancements.

To lead the development of this new business unit, Shawmut has hired Noelle Christensen, a seasoned leader in the military and high-performance protective materials industry with more than 20 years of supply chain and business development experience. Noelle brings a diverse perspective and wealth of knowledge across textile manufacturing, domestic and federal garment supply chain, business development, operations and innovation to Shawmut. As the leader of this new business unit, she will position the company as a key provider of innovative textile technology for high performance applications, with a focus on military and protective materials.

Prior to joining Shawmut, Noelle spent 14 years at Massif, a developer of advanced flame-resistant clothing for military and other high-performance applications. Most recently, she served as Massif’s VP/GM where she led the brand through exponential growth as it launched new textile innovations and high-performance clothing categories.

“As a previous customer of Shawmut, I bring a unique perspective to the team, having witnessed its engineers solving seemingly unsolvable problems,” said Christensen. “I am excited about how much more Shawmut has to offer than the market is aware of, such as our ability to quickly solve complex problems and test products on the fly for rapid innovation, and our dedication to quality control that ensures premium, consistent outputs for our customers. The commitment the company is making to sustainability initiatives while expanding our presence in this market is a natural extension of its core expertise learned in another exacting market vertical – automotive.”

Uniforms with Programmable Fiber Could Transmit Data and More

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Army-funded research has resulted in the development of a programmable fiber that could transmit data from Soldier uniforms.

Researchers at the Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed the first fiber with digital capabilities. The fiber can sense, store, analyze and infer activity when sewn into a piece of clothing.

“This groundbreaking research, with other research underway at the ISN, could revolutionize Soldier uniforms,” said Dr. James Burgess, ISN program manager for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “We could outfit our Soldiers with uniforms that could generate power, give them vital information about their physiology and environmental exposures, provide their location to their team and alert someone if they incur an injury. All of this could be done with very little increase in weight carried by the Soldier.”

Ultimately uniforms with this technology could power sensors, store and analyze the collected data and transmit data to outside sources.

The research, published in Nature Communications, describes how the team created the new fiber. The team placed hundreds of square silicon microscale digital chips into a preform that created a polymer fiber. By precisely controlling the polymer flow, the researchers created a fiber with continuous electrical connection between the chips over a length of tens of meters.

Until now, electronic fibers have been analog, carrying a continuous electrical signal, rather than digital, where discrete bits of information can be encoded and processed in 0s and 1s.

The fiber itself is thin and flexible and can pass through a needle, be sewn into fabrics, and washed at least 10 times without breaking down.

“When you put the fiber into a shirt, you can’t feel it at all,” said Gabriel Loke, MIT doctoral student. “You wouldn’t know it was there.”

Yoel Fink, professor in the departments of materials science and engineering and electrical engineering and computer science at MIT said that digital fibers expand the possibilities for fabrics to uncover the context of hidden patterns in the human body for physical performance monitoring, medical inference, and early disease detection.

A digital fiber can also store a lot of information in memory. The researchers were able to write, store, and read information on the fiber, including a 767-kilobit full-color short movie file and a 0.48-megabyte music file. The files can be stored for two months without power.

The fiber also takes a few steps forward into artificial intelligence by including, within the fiber memory, a neural network of 1,650 connections. After sewing it around the armpit of a shirt, the researchers used the fiber to collect 270 minutes of surface body temperature data from a person wearing the shirt, and analyzed how these data corresponded to different physical activities. Trained on these data, the fiber was able to determine with 96 percent accuracy the activity in which the person wearing the shirt was participating.

Adding an artificial intelligence component to the fiber further increases its possibilities, the researchers say. Fabrics with digital components can collect a lot of information across the body over time, and these lush data are perfect for machine learning algorithms, Loke said.

With this analytic power, the fibers someday could sense and alert Soldiers in real-time to health changes like a respiratory decline or an irregular heartbeat, or deliver muscle activation or heart rate data during training exercises. It could also provide data on any toxins Soldiers are exposed to, the length of time they are exposed, and monitor any effects those toxins have on their physiology.

The fiber is controlled by a small external device so the next step will be to design a new chip as a microcontroller that can be connected within the fiber itself.

“When we can do that, we can call it a fiber computer,” Loke said.

The U.S. Army established the MIT Institute for Nanotechnologies in 2002 as an interdisciplinary research center to dramatically improve protection, survivability and mission capabilities of the Soldier and of Soldier-supporting platforms and systems.

In addition to the Army, the, National Science Foundation, the MIT Sea Grant and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency supported this research.

By US Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs