Nearly all textiles are treated after fabrication with chemicals before being sold to the consumer. Processes such as bleaching, dyeing, and wrinkle resistant finishing are examples of treatments carried out on textile products.
Textile chemists use knowledge of polymer, organic, and physical chemistry to optimize existing procedures and develop new more environmentally friendly and sustainable ways to provide consumers with fashionable as well as functional textiles.
Current textile chemistry research areas in the TECS department include activators for hydrogen peroxide bleaching that allow lower temperatures and shorter process times, cationization of cotton prior to dyeing to eliminate salt and reduce water and energy use, and atmospheric pressure plasma treatments to provide high performance textiles without the use of water or heat. Textile chemists are employed by a variety of industries including traditional textile manufacturers (Milliken, International Textile Group), consumer product companies (Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly Clark) and government agencies (US Customs, SBI). For a more specific list of projects please visit faculty pages listed.