Interdisciplinary Research Directed by Huantian Cao (Fashion and Apparel Studies) and Richard Wool (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty and students in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies (FASH) and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CHEG). It is funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Students in the ACRES (Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources) group in CHEG develop thermoset resins, composites, and foams from plant oils and chicken feather. ACRES students also coat bio-based resins on different textile substrates that will be used as leather substitute. Students in FASH use these materials from renewable sources to design and develop apparel, footwear, and other products. Mechanical properties of these bio-based materials are evaluated in accordance with ASTM standards. Human subject tests are used to evaluate the product comfort, and consumer acceptance of our products. The objectives include: (a) developing and evaluating bio-based materials, i.e., thermosetting polymer resins, resin-coated textile fabrics, polyurethane foams, and chicken feather composites, for apparel and footwear products and accessories; (b) designing and producing garments, shoes and accessories with different styles using bio-based materials; (c) evaluating the comfort, consumers' acceptance, and cost of our design and product; (d) evaluating the lifecycle environmental impacts of the materials we developed, and (e) revising the design based on evaluation results and developing educational tool.