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New Wave of Fiber Research

Cotton may be getting even more breathable. A new wave of fiber research debuts with an international science and technology conference.

The Fiber Society 2007 Spring Conference held May 23-25 at the Westin Poinsett in Greenville, S.C. brings researchers worldwide together in one place for presentations that run the gamut from fibers mimicking lotus leaves and spider silk to green friendly composites and biomedical textiles.

Conference organizer Mike Ellison, a professor of materials science and engineering at Clemson University, says the meeting is designed to share scientific knowledge pertaining to fibers, fiber based products, and fibrous materials.

"Engineering textiles and fibers to be stronger and more durable while still being lightweight is a burgeoning area of research and technology. Some of the brightest minds on the planet will be here giving a glimpse of what consumers can expect next," said Ellison.

Sessions run all day Wednesday and Thursday plus Friday morning. The plenary address "Genetic Engineering for Design of Advanced Protein-based Fibrous Materials" by Albert Abbott, holder of the Coker Chair in Genetics at Clemson on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. is followed by a session at 9:30 a.m. featuring synthetic silk proteins. Artificial lotus leaves take the stage at 11 a.m. followed by advanced green composites at 11:30 a.m. A poster and table-top exhibition featuring local textile affiliated companies will be held Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. Cotton is among the topics at the Thursday morning sessions. Mark Kent of Kent Manufacturing is the Friday breakfast speaker. The full program is available at

The Fiber Society was established in 1941 and is composed of members who are chemists, physicists, and engineers with interests in the field of fiber science engineering and technology.

The Clemson University School of Materials Science and Engineering, host of the spring conference, has expanded into different high-tech niche areas of the fiber market. Expertise now extends to fiber-reinforced composite materials based on metals, ceramics and polymers for high performance and light weight, with uses in automotive, space, athletic equipment and medical prosthetic markets. In addition, biomedical fibers are being tested for artificial arteries, scaffolds for cell or bone growth and self-healing fabrics that promote skin reconstruction. Non-traditional "textile" fibers, such as inorganic glasses, are also being produced for use in telecommunications or high power fiber laser systems, lasers for automotive welding, defense sensing and warfare applications.

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