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Donors, State invest $8 mn to fund Advanced Fiber Center at Clemson

Nov '08
"There is no better place in the world in which to develop advanced fibers than in South Carolina, where the infrastructure and talent are so ingrained through our rich textile and fiber heritage,” said CEO Brian Morin of Innegrity LLC, a Greenville County-based developer and producer of high-performance fibers for ballistic-protection, transportation and sporting-goods applications.

“We are proud to be a part of this new center and look forward to growing the interaction between Innegrity and Clemson, which has helped us sprout from just an idea into the healthy sapling we are now.”

The South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence Program (http://www.sccoee.org/), was established by the General Assembly in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds.

The legislation authorizes the state's three public-research institutions to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy. The state funds must be matched dollar-for-dollar by private investment in the program. The program also supports CoEE endowed chairs, world-renowned scientists who lead the Centers of Economic Excellence.

This state program awarded the Advanced Fiber-based Materials Center of Economic Excellence at Clemson in 2006 with $4 million to be matched in private funds. The center will be a focal point for existing and emerging research activities examining new fibrous materials systems and manufacturing technologies, including discovery and initial commercialization of technically innovative materials and processes.

It is expected that these higher value-added applications will build on the existing knowledge base of fiber expertise within the state and will lead to a more advanced fiber-product base, creating superior industries that will support the retooling and retraining of skilled workers, leading to business growth, job retention and further job creation.

“Clemson University has a rich, rich history in textiles and fibers,” said professor of materials science and engineering Mike Ellison. “Couple this knowledge and depth with the experience of the brightest minds today that the new Center of Economic Excellence will attract and you're looking at the cutting edge of science and technology for materials. It's all right here.”

While much of the traditional textile industry has gone overseas to cheaper labor markets, Clemson University's School of Materials Science and Engineering has expanded into different high-tech niche areas of the market. For example, biomedical fibers are being tested for artificial arteries, scaffolds for cell or bone growth and self-healing fabrics that promote skin reconstruction.

Non-traditional “textile” fibers, such as inorganic glasses, are being produced for use in chemical and biological-sensing platforms, telecommunication systems and defense-sensing and warfare applications.

Clemson University

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