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New fabric mimics protective tissue of bones
Mar '17
Professor Melissa Knothe Tate with her computer-controlled jacquard loom. Photo: Paul Henderson Kelly. Courtesy: UNSW
Professor Melissa Knothe Tate with her computer-controlled jacquard loom. Photo: Paul Henderson Kelly. Courtesy: UNSW
Women often do not reach the heights in science as men do is a popular perception that makes Professor Melissa L  Knothe Tate uneasy. Tate, along with her team at the University of New South Wales in Australia, has successfully woven a fabric made of an elastic material and silk, which mimics the protective tissue that encloses human bones called periosteum.

"The material can be used for clothing, wearables (multifunctional devices that interact with the body, typically when worn on the body) and next generation implants that are wearables for the inside of the body so to speak," Tate told Fibre2Fashion in an exclusive interview.

Talking about the elastic material used in the fabric, Tate said, "The material can be manufactured from any material exhibiting gradients of elasticity and toughness, mimicking elastin and collagen. In fact, the material can be tuned for very specific applications, for example in the medical, transport or sports sectors."

The new material can be made from threads as diverse as titanium or silk of the golden orb spider.

"Depending on the pattern and composition of the textiles, we can make fabrics that become incredibly tough under impact loads or materials that never develop residual stresses. We aim to emulate natural tissues that exhibit support and protective functions in novel ways," she added.

Speaking about the challenges that the team faced while developing this unique smart textile, Tate said, "The biggest challenge is reducing a big concept to a series of hands on tasks to 'reduce the concept to practice.' This is the difference between being a visionary and being an inventor. Both are important steps in creating so called 'disruptive technologies' that open up new markets." (KD)

Click here to read the complete interview.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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