The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) Consortium is made up of our various stakeholders, along with NWI staff and volunteers, who support the Institute's activities. This team enables NWI to facilitate the development of next-generation fiber-based materials and products, which lead to revolutionary and often life-enhancing products for both industrial and consumer marketplaces.
NWI Members are represented on the NWI Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) and vote on the selection of new research projects annually. The IAB elects a nine (9) member board of directors who serve on the Executive Committee of the IAB. The Executive Committee meets regularly to provide guidance to the NWI leadership team. NWI also has a Strategic Scientific Advisory Board (SSAB) elected by the IAB, members of which provide guidance to the NWI leadership team and the IAB with respect to the NWI research portfolio and priorities in terms of research direction and research infrastructure.
NWI membership levels depend on a company’s gross sales. Large companies must select from Full Member I or Full Member II. Smaller companies can choose to become an Affiliate Member or a Full Member at either I or II by paying the appropriate membership dues.
NWI serves as a central resource and support center for the nonwovens and fiber-based industries. NWI’s outreach and partnership development objectives are accomplished through a vigorous program of:
- Information dissemination;
- Ongoing cultivation of dialogue and networking opportunities for industry professionals;
- The establishment of linkages between industry leaders and their university-based counterparts and collaborators;
- Company-focused technical training services offered at NWI, at the company’s site, online or in a hybrid format; and
- Internships offering students real-world exposure to the industry and its fast-changing technologies.
While NWI works with some of the industry’s leading companies, its services and expertise also support promising entrepreneurial ventures and the expansion of small, private firms. NWI collaborates with companies at all stages of growth that are embracing exciting new discoveries in nonwoven-based fibrous systems. The Institute is committed to enhancing the competitive posture of the nonwovens industry, which holds lucrative economic development potential for communities in North Carolina and beyond.
NWI funds research programs developed by faculty at NC State University, as well as other universities in the U.S. and throughout the world. The NWI Consortium funds projects that fall in the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 1-4 range and are focused on fundamental research that benefits the Institute’s members and industry partners. Support for NWI’s core research comes from membership dues augmented by the Institute’s State-appropriated funds.
Research typically falls into the following areas:
- Materials and Materials Characterization
- what to use, and how to analyze
- Polymer Processing & Extrusion
- how to make
- Engineered Structures
- what to make
- Micro and Macro Modeling
- structure-property-process modeling, performance modeling, etc…
- how to recycle, what to use as an alternative source
NWI funds new faculty-proposed projects each Fall. Every year, between 10 to 15 new projects are started. Faculty work directly with student researchers throughout the course of the project to ensure it meets the intended goals.
NWI supports select graduate students in carrying out research in the field of nonwovens in the degree program of their choice. NWI supports students from a number of academic programs at NC State University, including Fiber and Polymer Science, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Paper Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, as well as students in various engineering programs at partner institutions.
Our students will graduate with a degree in the discipline to which they are admitted, but their research will be focused on a topic of relevance to nonwovens. The research projects are developed by faculty and selected by NWI member companies. Students are selected based on their academic performance and capability within the industry-selected research programs.
Led by Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., Professor and Executive Director of NWI, the Institute is anchored by a staff of professionals who bring decades of expertise in nonwoven applications and technology. Our Lab Managers have deep knowledge in a variety of nonwovens-related areas, including Analytical & Physical Testing, Fiber & Polymer Science, Filtration Testing, Meltblown Nonwovens, Spunbond and Hydroentangled Nonwovens and Staple Fiber-Based Nonwovens. Our Research Scientists are experts in running trials to effectively navigate proof-of-concept for new product ideas. And our leadership team and supporting staff are dedicated to delivering on NWI’s mission of growing the nonwovens industry through knowledge creation, knowledge transfer, outreach and engagement.
Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D.
Benoit Maze, Ph.D.
Mehmet Dasdemir, Ph.D.
Rewatha (Neil) Pathirathna
NWI is supported by a team of Emeritus Members, who provide services and expertise in particular areas of need on a volunteer basis. Having served the nonwovens industry over the course of their long and accomplished careers, our volunteer team members bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to help advance NWI’s organizational goals. We thank them for their faithful support.
- Subhash Batra, Founder, Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center
- John Flood, former Kraton Polymers
- Don Gilliespie, Fi-Tech Inc.; former Fleissner Inc.
- John Roberts, former ExxonMobil
- Thomas Theyson, TensTech Inc.
- Ed Thomas, former First Quality and Fiberweb Inc.
- Carl Wust, former FiberVisions