This multidisciplinary program brings together the disciplines of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and engineering for the development of the independent scholars versed in the fields of polymer, fiber, and textile science. The program is coordinated by the Wilson College of Textiles and leads to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Students majoring in the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, textiles, and having at least a 3.0 grade point average out of 4.0 in their undergraduate major and have a master’s degree will normally qualify for admission.
The polymer, fiber, and textile sciences are concerned with polymeric materials and fibers produced from them; textile assemblies in one, two, and three-dimensional forms; and the chemistry of dyeing, finishing, and other wet processes. This broad field of study permits a wide range of useful concentrations. The candidate is expected to concentrate in one area and to acquire a reasonable perspective in other relevant areas. Generally, a student specializes in the areas of (1) polymer chemistry and synthesis, (2) fiber and polymer physics and physical chemistry, (3) the production, processing and properties of fibrous materials, or (4) chemistry of dyes, finishes, and their processes. The student’s research is usually based within one of these areas or another suitable one.
As soon as a student enrolls, an advisory committee chaired by a graduate faculty member is formed. Together with the student, the committee designs a plan of study to prepare him or her to pass a series of qualifying examinations. Credit-hour requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree are 72 with credit allowed for up to 30 hours of relevant NC State master’s work. Students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degrees after passing a series of examinations, completing a scholarly critique of existing knowledge in the field of specialization, and orally defending a research proposal. Candidates must successfully defend their dissertation based on original research before an advisory committee and other interested graduate faculty.
The Wilson College of Textiles building on the Centennial Campus houses teaching and research facilities valued at over $50 million. The facility contains a complete Model Manufacturing Facility (MMF) which makes it possible for students to participate in research in all manufacturing processes from fiber extrusion to garment assembly.
In addition to the MMF, the building contains research laboratories and pilot plant facilities for carrying out research in polymerization, dyeing, finishing, polymer evaluation, process evaluation, process control, color science, short-staple processing, fiber extrusion, knitting, weaving, tufting, production of nonwoven fabrics of all types, and apparel manufacturing. In addition, there are completely equipped laboratories for physical, mechanical, and dynamic testing, and for research in polymer, fiber, and textile structures. Kawabata Hand Evaluation, Comfort, Thermal Protection, Electrotechnology, CAD, CAM, CAE, CIM, Management Systems, virtual reality, and computer visualization are other specialized labs available within the college.
The Wilson College of Textiles has one of the most advanced computing facilities found in any university in the world. The computing hardware consists of 500 Intel PCs, 15 UNIX workstations, and 5 Macintosh computers. Furthermore, the university provides student-computing laboratories throughout the campus for student use. Hundreds of computer programs are available to graduate students and the college’s high-speed connection to the Internet provides graduate students with access to a wealth of information and resources throughout the world. This includes connectivity to the super computer located in North Carolina Supercomputing Center in Research Triangle Park (RTP).
Excellent analytical facilities are also available. Specialized equipment includes thermal analysis facilities (DSC); X-ray diffraction facilities; chromatographic equipment; rheometers; color science and fiber physics instrumentation; physical testing, and mechanical testing; polymer and dye synthesis; optical, acoustic, interference, and scanning electron microscopy; IR and FTIR spectroscopy; and acoustical testing. Facilities for UV, gamma, and electron irradiation are available, as are machine and electronic shop facilities. In addition, extensive electron microscopy and NMR facilities are available in cooperating departments on campus.
Industry, the State of North Carolina, and several agencies of the federal government support research in the Wilson College of Textiles at an annual level of over $12 million. Major, long-term research efforts include work on composites, nonwoven processing and product; the fundamentals of fiber formation, including very high-speed melt spinning and new methods of spinning fiber from cellulose solutions; increasing the energy efficiency of dyeing, finishing and yarn and fabric production; introducing automation and new material handling techniques in apparel manufacturing; developing comfortable and physiologically acceptable fabrics for protection against toxic agents and fire; new yarn manufacturing techniques; and synthesis of new dyes for improved lightfastness. Extensive research is also carried out in such management related areas as industry modeling, studies of quick response in the soft goods pipeline, and modeling trends in the apparel market. The major centers and consortia involved are listed as follows.
The Nonwovens Institute
The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) is the world’s first accredited academic program for the interdisciplinary field of engineered fabrics. Based at the Centennial Campus of NC State University in Raleigh, the NWI is an innovative global partnership between industry, government, and academe.
The Center for Research on Textile Protection and Comfort (TPACC)
TPACC serves as the nucleus of activity for coordinating and managing diverse research projects in the area of combined textile comfort and protection. TPACC facilities incorporate the capabilities to conduct basic and applied research on the properties of textile materials which relate to both wearer comfort and safety when exposed to hazardous and/or adverse environmental conditions. These facilities have become a unique resource for academic research.