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NCSU research developing improved fibers.

Research at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, has led to the development of improved polyester and cellulose fibers. The polyester fiber, which researchers Dr. John Cuculo and Dr. Paul Tucker describe as being as strong as steel, is produced by aligning more of the polyester molecules than was previously possible. The fiber's added strength has increased to a level about half that of "Kevlar" fibers, used in bulletproof vests, with further research aimed at improving the strength even further.

The main advantage of the new strong polyester fiber is that it is relatively inexpensive. At one tenth the cost of Kevlar production, the fiber will be a cost effective alternative for all but high temperature resistance requirements. Future applications include bulletproof vests, composite materials for automobile and plane construction and nonwovens. The team of researchers is working with Hoechst Celanese and Allied-Signal in a joint effort on this project and the two companies have licensing agreements for the new fiber.

In other developments, Dr. Cuculo and his research team have discovered a solvent that dissolves cellulose, allowing the production of a high performance cellulose fiber. Previously, cellulose fiber could not be shaped into useful products because it does not melt or dissolve readily. Using 1974 Nobel prize winning research on materials that form liquid crystals called lyotropic solutions, the NCSU research team has been able to form liquid crystals of cellulose in the solvent, a major first step towards creating a shapeable and meltable cellulose fiber.
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Title Annotation:North Carolina State University improving cellulose and polyester fibers
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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