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Fabrication and Testing

The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) plays a key role in development and transformation of the latest innovations into marketable fiber-based systems ready for shipment to commercial, consumer and industrial users around the world. Our facilities include lab-scale systems dedicated to polymer characterization, fiber extrusion and meltblown, with pilot facilities for bicomponent spunbond and meltblown, staple fiber, fiber spinning, needle punching, hydroentangling, thermal bonding and web composite capability. Our analytical and filtration testing facilities offer the ability to analyze and evaluate material performance according to a wide range of industry-specific standard test methods.

Fiber Extrusion and Web Formation Equipment

  • Hills LBS-300 Research Line
    • Multifilament spinnerets with orifices to produce the following external fiber cross sections:
      • Solid round
      • Hollow round
      • Trilobal
    • Multifilament bicomponent fiber spinning with metering/distribution plates to produce the following internal fiber cross sections:
      • Sheath/Core
      • Side by Side
      • Tipped Trilobal
      • 16 Segment Pie
      • 36 Islands-In-the-Sea
    • Monofilament extrusion capabilities for extruding, water quenching, and winding homopolymer and bicomponent
    • Meltblown dies for extruding homopolymer and bicomponent meltblown fibers
    • Spunbond open systems aspirator for high-speed stretching of spun fibers along with spunbond fabric forming, calender bonding, and winding equipment
  • 25 cm Elmarco Nanospider
  • 38 cm (15 in) Biax meltblown research line
  • 12.5 cm (5 in) meltblowing line with Reicofil and Biax meltblowing dies
  • 90 cm (36 in) Klieverick powder applicator and lamination calendar

* NWI lab services also offer three-dimensional deep molding and post fiber drawing.

If you have questions about NWI‘s fiber extrusion or web formation capabilities, email us at

Imaging and Microscopy

NWI offers custom-developed equipment and software, as well as commercially proven technologies, to enable unique and unrivaled solutions. NWI has the capability to measure fiber morphology, uniformity, ODF; perform texture analysis; perform SEM, AFM, XPS, and TOF-SIMS analysis through cooperation with the Analytical Instrumentation Facility at NC State University.

Unique capabilities include:

  • Bright field-polarization microscopy
  • Interference microscopy
  • Stereomicroscopy with fluorescent capability
  • Optical fiber orientation analysis system
  • Optical texture analysis system
  • Optical fabric uniformity system
  • Optical fuzz and pilling analysis system
  • 3D DVI imaging
  • Full line of image analysis software

If you have questions about NWI‘s imaging and microscopy capabilities, email us at

Modeling and Simulation

NWI offers custom-developed modeling and simulation software and services, as well as commercially proven technologies. In-house and commercial codes for 2D and 3D web generation provide information on pore size distribution, solid volume fraction and can be used to simulate fluid flow through such structures. In addition to fibrous media, fluid flow through micronozzles or around defined structures is also possible. NWI also has experience in particle flow, including cake effect on filters, particle deposition in micro-nozzles and particle path lines inside or outside structures.

Simulation and modeling software:

  • Gambit (structure & mesh generation)
  • Fluent (CFD simulation)
  • Ansys (finite element modeling)
  • GeoDict (3D microstructure simulations)
  • Matlab (numerical modeling)
  • Tecplot (post-processing)

In-house developed software:

  • 3DNWSim (2D & 3D generation)

If you have questions about NWI‘s modeling and simulation capabilities, email us at

Pilot Manufacturing

Staple nonwovens pilot facility:

  • Trützschler feeding, opening and blending systems
  • 1 m Standalone Trützschler Scanfeed for high-loft structures
  • 1 m Trützschler high-speed card EWK 413
  • 1 m thermal calendar
  • Andritz Profile 415-FD cross lapper
  • 1.5 m Trützschler Nonwovens Needle Loom ENL (single board)
  • 1.5 m Andritz A.50-RL Needle Loom (4 board)
  • 1.5 Fleissner 4-zone impingement/through-air oven
  • 1.5 Parkinson winder

Meltspinning nonwoven pilot facilities:

  • 1 m Reifenhauser Reicofil meltblown line equipped with a number of cassettes
    • Single-row Reicofil cassette
      • 20, 25, 35, and 45 holes per inch
    • Multi-row Biax cassette
      • 6 Rows (3300 capillaries)
  • 1 m extrusion coating line (planned)

Reicofil bico spunbond and hydroentangling pilot facilities:

NWI’s spunbond and hydroentangling pilot line features:

  • 1 m Reifenhauser-Reicofil bicomponent spunbond line
    • Bico spunbond line S/S S/C segmented/pie and others for polyester and polypropylene (ratios 50/50 – 90/10)
    • Spinning width 1100 mm, web width 1100
    • Throughput PP 270 kg/h/m
    • Throughput PET 400 kg/h/m
    • Denier range 1.0-3.0 dpf (PET); 2.0-6.0 dpf (PP)
  • 1 m Andritz calender (smooth and point bond with several bond patterns)
  • 1 m Andritz hydroentangling unit
  • 1 m Kiss-roll
  • 1 m Andritz through-air dryer
  • 1 m A.Celli winder and slitter

If you have questions about NWI‘s pilot manufacturing capabilities, email us at

Polymer Characterization Equipment:

  • Instron® CEAST, Smart Rheo 2000 – dual-capillary rheometer
  • Instron® CEAST, 7026 melt-flow tester – MVR, MFR
  • Capillary rheometer-RH7-2 (Rosand)

If you have questions about NWI‘s polymer characterization capabilities, email us at

Testing Services

Filtration testing:
NWI has expanded its capabilities and offers testing services for facemasks, respirators and filter media. Test methods include:

  • One PALAS MFP-3000-S (fractional aerosol filter test)
  • Two TSI 8130 machines; NWI can perform the NIOSH TEB-APR-STP-0057 according to 42 CFR PART 84.
  • Two TSI 3160 machines
  • Two offline charging and discharging units
  • Two environmental chambers for discharging and conditioning masks and filter media
  • One testing apparatus for the measurement of fluid resistance for surgical masks
  • One prototyping facility to produce masks for testing purposes per NIOSH Standard Test Protocol

In addition, NWI is modifying one of the TSI 3160 units to be able to perform ASTM 2299 for the measurement of Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE) at 0.1 microns.

If you have questions about NWI‘s filtration testing capabilities, email us at

Polymer characterization:

  • TGA
  • DSC
  • Rheology

Nonwoven and fiber testing:

  • Absorption, desorption and in-plane liquid transport
  • Intron for performing a variety of tests including tensile, tear, dynamic friction, creep and fatigue.
  • Favimat for testing single fibers
  • Mocon for testing moisture vapor transmission
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Bursting strength
  • Thickness
  • Bending stiffness
  • Hydrostatic head for measuring barrier properties
  • Basis weight
  • Air permeability  – TexTest FX 3300
  • Gurley air permeability
  • CTT – Yarn / Filament Abrasion Testing
  • Contact angle
  • SEM & optical microscopy

In addition to physical testing equipment, the following analytical testing is available at NC State University: FTIR, UV-VIS, NIR, GC, HPLC, LLS, and XRD.

If you have questions about NWI’s analytical and physical testing capabilities, email us at