Team Members: Sydney Beckner, Blake Kearns, Christine Lee
Project Description: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 deaths in the U.S. every year are caused by heat, even though heat-related illnesses are preventable diseases. As a result, our team was motivated to create a cooling product to aid thermophysiological comfort in varying environments. Our sponsor provided a bicomponent fiber with a permanently cool feeling. Using the fiber, the goal of the project was to investigate and explore applications for this fiber in markets such as home textiles and performance apparel. Another goal of this project was to find a suitable U.S market for the fiber to enter into as the company wanted to expand its horizons in order to market globally.
We found early on that the yarn has high extension, so we researched a market that adds the cooling properties of the yarn to a compression product. While working with the bicomponent fiber, our team found that a yarn cohesion method was necessary for the next phase of production. Twist insertion and air texturizing were found suitable for processing. Jersey, spacer, and rib knits were created with both the twist inserted and the air texturized yarns. Testing and evaluation were completed and led the team to discover how to optimize the cooling effect with the prototypes’ various knit structures.
Through collaboration with the Manufacturing Solutions Center, we were able to create a second round of prototypes with different finishing methods to simulate the end product through industrial production. Sample evaluation was in the beginning stages prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Following this, we transitioned to a plan that focused on enabling our sponsor to continue this project after typical operations resume and used the information found earlier in the project to make a continuity plan that allows the company to move forward. Overall, we are extremely grateful for the time spent together learning and growing from this project to expand our knowledge of the product development cycle, thermodynamics, effective communication, research, and teamwork.