The primary objective of the Center for Advanced Fibers and Coating Technologies is to develop durable coatings and finishes based on biodegradable and bio-benign materials that combine high efficiency, mechanical robustness, permeability, flexibility and possess environmentally sound biodegradable properties.
This center has two initial research directions:
Nanocellulose-based textile finishing and dyeing, energy harvesting/storage and electroconductive coatings
UGA researchers are working to develop nanofibrillated cellulose (NC) gels that can be deposited on the surface of single filament fibers, yarns and fabrics made of synthetic and natural polymers. The sustainable raw material prepared by biomass processing can be used as a biocompatible, biodegradable host for various functional molecules and particles, for example dyes, electroconductive metal nanowires, and nanothermocapsules. With a large surface area arising from nano-dimensions ranging from 10 to 200 nm in diameter and several microns in length, hydroxyl functionality-rich surface, NC fibers can function as binding sites for functional particulates via hydrogen and covalent bonds. The resulting NC composites can be adjusted to coatings on the surfaces of building walls, furniture, roofing, and as finishes for clothing fabrics, footwear, carpets and bedding textiles.
Nanofiber and microfiber manufacturing
UGA researchers have recently developed a series of new methods for nanofiber manufacturing based on the mechanical drawings of polymer melts and solutions. The new developed methods, which include magnetospinning, touch-, brush-spinning and reactive spinning, are different from those commonly used due to the direct mechanical control over nanofiber collection, alignment in 2D- and 3D-structures, post-spinning drawing and better control of reactive spinning with involvement of diffusion-limited reactions. The biodegradable and biocompatible nanofibers can be used for tissue engineering and cell culture scaffolds; sensors; carriers for enzymes and catalysts; and reinforced composite materials.