The Nonwovens Institute’s Spring 2023 Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting has adjourned, following a week of activity with NWI member companies joining students and faculty to consider research and engage in discussion around big ideas in nonwovens.
The event, presented May 16-18 on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University, kicked off with a meeting of NWI’s Executive Committee, followed by 19 presentations over two days by Ph.D. candidates and graduate students who are conducting fundamental research in areas of significant interest to the nonwovens industry. The research, funded by NWI member companies and other sponsors, revolved around Materials and Materials Characterization; Polymer Processing & Extrusion; Engineered Structures; Micro and Macro Modeling; and Sustainability.
“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to NWI for organizing and providing us with this remarkable platform,” said Nilesh Tharval, Director of i2M & Digital Hub for MANN+HUMMEL. “By facilitating these knowledge-sharing events, NWI continues to nurture a community of forward-thinking professionals and foster a culture of continuous learning. Your efforts are greatly appreciated, and I look forward to more such opportunities to connect and grow together.”
Special thanks to Dr. Raoul Farer, Director of Technology at Freudenberg Performance Materials and Chair of NWI’s Executive Committee, for leading the IAB meeting. And congratulations to all of the students who participated in this event and worked so hard to prepare their presentations. Well done!
Student awards program
The IAB student research presentation session kicked off with the issuing of plaques recognizing the student award winners from the Fall 2022 IAB meeting. Recognized awardees included:
- Best Presentation: Tara Coia – Development of Adsorbent System Against Chemical Threats
- Best Technical: Anastasia Timofeeva – Dynamic, In-Situ Characterization of Failure Modes in Fiber
- Best Overall: Pallav Jani – Fundamental Evaluation of Interaction Between Slip Agents and Hydrophilic Spin Finishes on PP Nonwovens
Following the student presentations, the IAB also voted on a new crop of awardees, who will be recognized and receive plaques at the Fall 2023 IAB. Those awardees included:
- Best Presentation: Anicah O’Brien, Effect of Surface Coatings on Biodegradability and Functional Properties of Model Pure and Blended Biopolymer Substrates
- Best Technical: Pallav Jani, Fundamental Evaluation of Interaction Between Slip Agents and Hydrophilic Spin Finishes on PP Nonwovens
- Best Overall: Anastasia Timofeeva, Dynamic In-Situ Characterization of Failure Modes in Fiber Spinning
The first evening of the IAB featured a reception and student poster session, with 21 posters presented on topics covering NWI’s research thrust areas of Engineered Structures, Materials and Materials Characterization, Modeling, Polymer Processing & Extrusion and Sustainability.
The poster sessions offered an opportunity for students to engage directly with NWI faculty and industry partners. The lively discussions allowed the students to receive valuable feedback on their research topics and ideas for next steps.
Day two of the IAB included a tour of NWI’s world-class nonwoven production and testing facilities, with attendees getting a close look at the equipment housed in NWI’s lab- and pilot-scale facilities. NWI’s labs include Analytical & Physical Testing, Fiber & Polymer Science, Filtration Testing, Meltblown, Spunbond & Hydroentangling, and Staple Fiber/Carded Nonwovens. NWI’s labs are capable of supporting trials from lab scale to semi-commercial scale nonwoven production, with a full suite of testing instruments and services available to validate the performance of nonwoven materials.
The IAB also provided ample time for networking among students, industry experts and faculty. Notably, the second day of the IAB meeting concluded with a networking reception at the beautiful Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the campus of NC State University. The reception allowed the students and attendees to unwind and get to know each other in an informal and comfortable setting.
IAB Business Meeting
The final day of the IAB began with the Business Meeting, where NWI’s industry members reviewed the results of the student presentation evaluations. This portion of the event enabled NWI’s membership to discuss the research projects in detail and identify strategies for how the projects could be improved, where necessary, as well as how they could help advise and mentor the researchers as they prepare for next steps and presenting their latest research findings at the Fall IAB meeting in November.
Thermal bonding of nonwovens training
Dr. Pourdeyhimi wrapped up the week with a two-hour training on thermal bonding of nonwoven structures. The exclusive educational opportunity covered the structure of nonwovens and how they impact the thermal bonding process. The training touched on such topics as fiber orientation, failure modes and fabric characterization.
Dr. Pourdeyhimi will next teach a short course, Nonwoven Product Development & Innovation, June 20-23, from NWI’s world-class nonwoven testing and production facilities in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can find more details on this course here.
The next edition of NWI’s IAB meeting will take place Nov. 7-9 on the Centennial Campus of NC State University. This is a members-only event. You can find more details on NWI membership opportunities here.