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David Hinks

Dean - Textiles

Cone Mills Distinguished Professor of Textile Chemistry

Textiles Complex 3423


Currently serving as Dean of the Wilson College of Textiles, Dr. David Hinks is proud and privileged to lead the College’s more than 145 full-time employees who mentor approximately 900 undergraduates, 250 graduate students, and upwards of 150 contracts with industry partners and 11 government agencies totaling greater than $10 million.Hinks is a member of both NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers and Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension, and enjoys serving on the North Carolina Forensic Science Advisory Board. He is also a member of the North Carolina Economic Development Association. In addition to mentoring dozens of graduate students and post docs, visiting scholars and 20-plus undergraduate students in research, he has published more than 150 peer reviewed and conference papers in the area of color science, and forensic and environmental textile chemistry. Five of his former students are professors in China, Korea, Chile, Thailand, and the U.S. and his students regularly win top honors; three of his graduate students have won the AATCC Student Paper Competition; two more have gone on to win prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowships and one was a recipient of the highest undergraduate honor in the U.S., the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.Born and raised in Derby, England, Hinks worked for Courtaulds Research from 1984 to 1986 prior to attending the University of Leeds, where earned a B.S. and Ph.D. in Colour Chemistry in 1989 and 1993, respectively. In 1993, he moved to NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles as a Post Doctoral Research Associate and later Visiting Assistant Professor investigating the genotoxicity of dyes and pigments. In 1996, he joined Milliken & Co. in Spartanburg, SC, as an R&D Chemist. In Fall 1998, he returned to NC State as Assistant Professor in the College of Textiles. In 2003, he was promoted to Associate Professor and became the Program Director for the then new Polymer and Color Chemistry Program. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2009 and was named the Cone Mills Distinguished Professor of Textile Chemistry in 2010. The same year Hinks was appointed Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science and the Director of the University’s emerging Forensic Sciences Institute. In 2014, he was appointed as Interim Dean of the College of Textiles. In 2016, he was named Dean of the Wilson College of Textiles.


Current research is focused in color perception and measurement and dyestuff design, synthesis and application.

  1. Forensic Analysis of Dyes and Fibers
    Research is on-going to develop an unprecedented Comparative Finished Fiber Analytical Database (COMFFAD) using liquid chromatography and Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (LC TOF MS) to enable dyed fibers to be rapidly and accurately analyzed for the exact dyes present in the fiber, as well as estimate their concentrations in the fiber. This work is aimed at substantially advancing trace evidence analysis of fibers.
  2. Fiber Chemistry with Reduced Environmental Impact
    Our research group has established a new approach to desizing, scouring and bleaching cotton fibers using a bleach activators at neutral conditions and comparatively low temperature. Good whiteness and very little fiber damage results from our methods. We are working to optimize the conditions for scale up of the research.
  3. Color Perception and Measurement
    Research is on-going to improve the correlation between color perception of, for instance, the magnitude of color differences, whiteness and staining of dyes onto materials, with the spectrophotometric measurement of color.
  4. Dyestuff and Pigment Design and Synthesis
    Many existing commercial colorants are under threat due to occupational and environmental problems associated with their production and use. Hence, new approaches for the design and synthesis of new nongenotoxic colorants are required, as well as new processes for their application that are more environmentally responsible than existing technology. One focus in the College of Textiles has been towards the design of nongenotoxic colorants and intermediates.


  • Society of Dyers and Colourists, UK.  Academic Editor
  • International Standards Organization, Tech. Committee 38, SC1, Working Group 7, Color Measurement  Convenor and Delegate
  • AATCC Color Science Symp. Steering Committee  Chair
  • Society of Dyers and Colourists  Chair
  • American Association Textile Chemists and Colorists  Chair
  • American Chemical Society  Chair
  • Inter-Society Color Council  Chair


PCC 106 – Polymer Synthesis and Environmental Sustainability,
PCC 301 – Textile Wet Processing,
PCC 401 – Manufacturing and Its Impact on Safety, the Environment, and Society,
PCC 474 – Forensic Analytical Chemistry Laboratory


Ph.D Cationic Reactive Dyes for Cellulosic Fibres The University of Leeds, U.K. 1993

B.Sc. (Honors) Colour Chemistry The University of Leeds, U.K. 1989

Area(s) of Expertise

Color Science
Fiber Science


Date: 07/24/23 - 7/23/25
Amount: $2,000,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Agency for International Development (USAID)

To address the short-term and long-term textile and apparel workforce needs of Honduras, the following hybrid (in-person and online) training and education modules will be developed in direct partnership with industry and implemented in Spanish and English for students/trainees.

Date: 03/01/13 - 12/31/15
Amount: $107,071.00
Funding Agencies: Hanesbrands, Inc.

Over the last six years, a common problem identified by attendees of Cotton, Incorporated?s workshops on Color Standards and Dyeing Science relates to the dyeing performance of dark shades such as black, navy, burgundy, etc. This theme is articulated consistently in statements such as this: ?Our suppliers commonly cannot achieve the ultra deep shades on cotton that our designers have chosen for their color pallets. And if they can, then we commonly have to accept wash fastness performance that is below our technical specifications?

Date: 01/01/13 - 12/31/15
Amount: $65,930.00
Funding Agencies: Cotton, Inc. (No pre-award costs/accounts allowed)

Over the last 12 years, our research group has worked to developed new low energy and low environmental impact bleaching of cotton fibers using a novel, patented bleach activator. Interest in commercial production of the activator is increasing, and with a market focused on reduced environmental impact and energy consumption, assessment of commercial feasibility of our pilot-plant tested methods are warranted.

Date: 01/01/13 - 12/31/15
Amount: $39,760.00
Funding Agencies: Cotton, Inc. (No pre-award costs/accounts allowed)

n some niche apparel market segments, colorants for cotton have gone full circle from early colorants found in nature; to highly complex, synthesized compounds; back to new, optimized dyeing systems using natural dyes. Traditional textile wet processes (preparation, dyeing, and finishing) have a negative public image based on large amounts of water consumed and contaminated effluent discharged from textile operations. The interest in, and use of, natural dyes for dyeing cotton appears to be in part due to the perceived improved environmental impact and sustainability. To our knowledge, this has yet to be demonstrated in any situation. In order to understand the impact of use of natural dyes and compare them to synthetic dyes, a rigorous dyeing model comparing the environmental impact of an optimized natural color dyeing program with conventional fiber reactive dyeing systems on cotton is required and proposed for this research. Both existing commercial approaches and novel, environmentally-responsible fixation systems will be investigated for the application of select natural dyes. It is anticipated that a comprehensive literature review may reveal a number of potential application/fixation systems worth exploring and optimizing. One primary goal is to establish the most optimum natural dyeing system in terms of environmental impact, cost and technical performance. To be relevant and accepted by both the marketing and manufacturing sectors of the textile industry, the dyed and finished results must contain: Robust and reproducible formulas and procedures Colors and fastness that satisfy commercial and industrial standards Detailed reporting of all inputs and outputs (positive and negative) Quantifiable model of total coloration efficiency (dye and auxiliaries on fabric and in effluent)

Date: 09/01/09 - 2/28/15
Amount: $1,400,000.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Through innovative application of computational thinking, this project will build the necessary cyber infrastructure to provide the next generation platform for multi-disciplinary and multi-agency collaboration in crime scene investigation (CSI). Since Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals [1], CSI is both a highly visual and quantitative analysis characterized by a time-sensitive need to gather, organize, analyze, model, and visualize large, multi-scale, heterogeneous and context-rich data. CSI is also characterized by a fundamental need for rapid coordination and data translation across disciplines, agencies and levels of expertise as crime scenes are processed, reconstructed, solved and ultimately prosecuted over time, often critically in front of lay-people comprising a jury. Current methods of CSI are limited by the lack of cyber infrastructure and protocols for virtual access to expertise and lack of repositories of key data. From a computational e-Science perspective, forensic science is ripe for revolution through the development of a cyber infrastructure that will provide both new core data resources and collaboration capabilities in CSI, analysis and communication. Through cyber-enabled remote access to data, tools and experts, as well as holistic integration of diverse data streams to virtually reconstruct and preserve actual crime scenes, the application of computational thinking to CSI, evidence meta-analysis and jury education will be transformed. The transformative research goal of this project is to develop a pioneering platform for interdisciplinary, cyber-enabled crime reconstruction through innovative methodology and engagement (IC-CRIME). The IC-CRIME platform will enable collaborative engagement in a 3D virtual reconstructed crime scene that incorporates multi-layer, scale-variant data and objects. The proposed cyber infrastructure will allow users to embed, interact with and analyze multi-layered data and objects within a precisely and accurately reconstructed crime scene in such a way that provides lucid spatial insight for users while simultaneously preserving quantitative geospatial relationships among evidentiary components as meaning is gleaned from data. In addition to CSIs, parallel utility in IC-CRIME will be developed by providing enhanced and expanded professional law enforcement (re)certification training and graduate education in CSI. The transformative educational goal of this project is to extend the IC-CRIME platform into a multi-level (K20), team-based inter-disciplinary educational tool that provides experiential, problem-based learning opportunities in a context-specific virtual environment.

Date: 01/01/13 - 12/31/14
Amount: $39,000.00
Funding Agencies: Cotton, Inc. (No pre-award costs/accounts allowed)

The primary goal of the proposed research is to determine the basic commercial viability of employing optimized cationization preparation of cotton to obtain ultra deep shades with high fastness properties and low environmental impact.

Date: 04/01/12 - 11/30/14
Amount: $7,000.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Professional Science Master

This PSM is urgently needed to serve the Mid-Atlantic region. Greater than 90% of respondents in our Forensic Science Symposium stated that a Masters in Forensic Science is needed in NC. No graduate program in Forensics Science exists in North or South Carolina. There is no Forensic Science accredited academic program of any kind in NC, SC, or TN. The NC Attorney General Roy Cooper has written in support of a graduate program in Forensic Science. The NC State Bureau of Investigation has always been forced to hire forensic scientists from out-of-state, and they have asked how soon NC State can establish this PSM in Forensic Science and Engineering. For these reasons, our goals are to launch the PSM in about 12 months.

Date: 10/01/11 - 11/30/14
Amount: $537,098.00
Funding Agencies: National Institute of Justice

Due to the quantity of textile materials in the environment, there is a high probability of fiber transfer during the commission of a crime. Consequently, identification of fiber samples often plays a critical role in criminal investigations. The goal of this proposal is to develop a micro-fluidic device used to extract dye molecules from fabric, allowing its identification using Mass Spectrometry (MS).

Date: 10/01/12 - 10/31/14
Amount: $432,648.00
Funding Agencies: National Institute of Justice

Despite the fact that Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) is now a well-established forensic discipline, there remains much to do to establish the under-pinning science of the discipline, especially for textiles. So far most of the research effort has been on patterns formed on hard, non-porous surfaces. Surprisingly, no comprehensive and fundamental research on the more complex problem of bloodstain patterns on textile materials has been undertaken to date. When blood is deposited on fabrics it tends to migrate along the fibers of the fabric (wicks). Bloodstains on these surfaces have not lent themselves to the same degree of analysis due to the strong interaction between the blood deposition process, the fabric structure, and the surface properties. Further complicating BPA on textiles is the wide range of textile materials and their surface treatments. These include fabric construction, yarn construction, and fiber types. A fundamental analysis of the deposition of blood onto fabric structures and the subsequent movement of blood into or across the fabric is critically needed to enable models to be developed that could ultimately define the scope and limitations of BPA on textiles. The overall goal of this study is: To provide a fundamental understanding of the complex interactions between blood and textile materials. The basis for this project is the hypothesis that an understanding of the fundamental mechanics of the bloodstain pattern formation process is essential to the reliable classification of the resulting bloodstain pattern. This is particularly true for the more complex problem of classifying bloodstain patterns on fabric surfaces. The overall experimental strategy therefore will be to study the mechanics of the formation of a series of bloodstain patterns on a range of the most common fabric surfaces used in the clothing and home furnishing industries under a range of controlled and relevant conditions. Three workpackages along with detailed fabric characterization are proposed. These are organized to address the three main bloodstain pattern types: drip, spatter and transfer. Each of these workpackages will be executed in two phases. In the first phase, only woven fabrics (e.g., plain woven cotton used in bed sheets) and cotton twill (e.g., denim) will be studied. In the second phase knit fabrics (e.g., those used in cotton jersey knit T-shirts) will be studied. These tend to be much more open, but also much less dimensionally stable than plain weave textiles. The more open structure of most knits should enhance wicking of blood into the fabric, but their dynamic behavior may greatly alter the shape and dimensions of a blood drop. Blood will be dripped, spattered, and transferred onto the fabric and the motion of the blood will be recorded using high speed imaging to capture the initial deposition phase and time-lapse photography to characterize the subsequent spreading and drying phase. The final pattern will be analyzed based on the fabric structure and the expected wicking behavior, with the aid of both conventional and laser scanning confocal microscopy. In addition, since the fabric behaves as a filter, the motion of the cells will also be analyzed to determine direction of flow and whether other liquids interfere or alter the BPA. Finally, fluid mechanics and the capillary structures inherent in the fabric structure will be analyzed to develop fundamental models of BPA. The key deliverable of this study will be new data that characterizes bloodstains on fabric, including a new understanding of the fundamental science behind the mechanics of blood drip, spatter and transfer on the most common woven and knit apparel fabrics, and quantitative models to predict the wicking behavior of blood into these fabrics.

Date: 07/01/13 - 6/30/14
Amount: $20,078.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Research and Innovation Seed Funding Program

The goal of this work is to develop innovative new approaches to integrating flame retardants into polymeric substances as a means of optimizing its effectiveness while reducing their adverse health effects. This goal will be accomplished through the synergistic combination of an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers.

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