Fiber science lab, design student develop clothes to trap poisonous gas.
Subject: Fibers (Design and construction)
Fibers (Product development)
Fibers (Materials)
Gases, Asphyxiating and poisonous (Management)
Fashion design (Innovations)
Pub Date: 03/22/2011
Publication: Name: Human Ecology Publisher: Cornell University, Human Ecology Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Science and technology; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Cornell University, Human Ecology ISSN: 1530-7069
Issue: Date: Spring, 2011 Source Volume: 39 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 331 Product development; 200 Management dynamics Canadian Subject Form: Fibres; Fibres; Fibres Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: Product Code: 2200000 Textile Mill Products; 2869916 Poison Gases NAICS Code: 313 Textile Mills; 325199 All Other Basic Organic Chemical Manufacturing SIC Code: 2869 Industrial organic chemicals, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 266957320
Full Text: A new fabric that can selectively trap noxious gases and odors has been fashioned by Jennifer Keane '11, a fiber science and apparel design (FSAD) major, into a line of hooded shirts and masks inspired by the military.

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The garments use metal organic framework molecules (MOFs) and cellulose fibers that were assembled in assistant fiber science professor Juan Hinestroza's lab to create the special cloth. MOFs, which are clustered crystalline compounds, can be manipulated at the nanolevel to have cages that are the exact same size as the gas they are trying to capture.

Keane worked with Hinestroza and FSAD postdoctoral associate Marcia Da Silva Pinto to create the gas-absorbing hoods and masks. Some of the basic science behind this project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

"The work to meet the initial goal of attaching the MOFs to fibers was sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. We wanted to harness the power of these molecules to absorb gases and incorporate these MOFs into fibers, which allows us to make very efficient filtration systems," Hinestroza said.

Da Silva Pinto first created MOF fabrics in Hinestroza's lab, working in collaboration with chemists from Professor Omar Yaghi's group at the University of California-Los Angeles. Yaghi is one of the pioneers and leaders of.MOF chemistry, Hinestroza said.

At first the process did not work smoothly. "These crystalline molecules are like a powder that cannot easily become part of cloth," Da Silva Pinto noted. After months of trying to attach the particles to the fiber, "the researchers realized that the key was to bring the fiber to the particle--it was a real paradigm shift," she said.

"Now we can make large surfaces of fabric coated with MOFs, and we are looking at scaling up this technology to nanofibers," Hinestroza said. "This type of work would only be possible at a place like Cornell where you have this unique merging of disciplines, where a fashion designer can interact easily with a chemist or a materials scientist."

Though trained as a chemical engineer, Hinestroza said he likes to work with designers because they think very differently than scientists. "I love that because that's where the real creativity comes from, when you have this collision of styles and thinking processes."

Keane, who took Hinestroza's Textiles, Apparel, and Innovation course, said she started Cornell as a pre-med major but switched to FSAD because she enjoyed the creative aspect of sewing and designing her own clothing in high school. She has since interned with Nike and recently received a job offer from Adidas.

Keane's MOF garments were displayed in an exhibit at Martha van Rensselaer Hall and at Mann Library. Keane also created a line for the 27th annual Cornell Fashion Collective spring fashion show on April 16. Her women's sportswear collection included many geometric patterns and bright jewel tones.

--Elizabeth Simpson 14, a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle
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