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For Students

The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) offers students the opportunity to participate in fundamental research in areas that address the pressing challenges in nonwovens applications and technology. Student researchers working through the NWI program benefit from a diverse range of perspectives, working hand-in-hand with subject matter experts from academia and industry. NWI also offers a Graduate Certificate in Nonwovens Science and Engineering through the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University.

How to Get Involved

Students engage with NWI by partnering with faculty from the degree program of their choice. 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. Proposal selection is a competitive process, and NWI does support the submission and selection of research proposals from faculty at other universities.

NWI supports students from a number of NC State academic programs including Fiber and Polymer Science, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Forest Biomaterials, and Biomedical Engineering, as well as students in various engineering programs at partner institutions in the United States and globally.

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.  

Process for NWI Assistantship:

The Industrial Advisory Board

The Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) is responsible for the governance of the NWI Consortium, which is comprised of our Members, participating Faculty and Principal Investigators (PIs), and the Students who are engaged in NWI research projects.

The IAB meets semi-annually in the Spring (May) and Fall (November). The first half-day and full second day of the IAB meeting are designed for Core Research Presentations and Reviews. The morning of the third day is for the Members’ Business Meeting, where the Core Research Presentations will be discussed and evaluated by NWI membership.

For the Core Research Presentations & Reviews portion of the IAB meeting, students engaged in the NWI program must prepare:

  1. A written semi-annual research report
  2. A one-page description of their research
  3. A PowerPoint presentation on their research
  4. A research poster

During the first IAB meeting after initiating a project, the PI and student are responsible for submitting a poster, a one-pager and report; and thereafter, it is mandatory that the PI and the student submit a report, a one-pager, a presentation and a poster.

Student presentations at the IAB meeting should cover the following:

  1. Project goals
  2. Project relevance to the industry
  3. Status at last report
  4. Overview of the presentation

The presentation must follow the template provided by NWI (see below). The presentation should be planned for the time duration shown on the agenda, including approximately five minutes for questions.

Please make sure that you meet the deadlines for the submission of reports and presentations. Reports and Presentations received after the deadline will not be distributed to the member companies. No exceptions will be made.

For dates and details about the next IAB meeting, click here.

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Report and Presentation Guidelines

Formatting requirements and templates for IAB reports, posters and presentations are provided below. It is very important, and a condition for continued financial support by NWI, that reports and slides be presented in the required format, and by the deadline specified.

Please provide your reports (full and 1 pager) in PDF format.

Please format the file name as such: 16-192SB-iab-one-pager-nov-2023 and 16-192SB-iab-meeting-report-nov-2023. The file name should note the current month and year of the relevant IAB.

Email both to Tom Daugherty (thdaughe@ncsu.edu) and Benoit Maze (bmaze@ncsu.edu).

Presentations should be submitted in PDF and PPTX format. Please do not include page numbers when creating the PDF. Please do not include your “thank you” slide or backup slides when creating the PDF.

Please format the file name as such: 16-192SB-iab-presentation-nov-2023. The file name should note the current month and year of the IAB.

Email both to Tom Daugherty (thdaughe@ncsu.edu) and Benoit Maze (bmaze@ncsu.edu).

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NWI’s Current Student Researchers:

Sofia Abello, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Shyam Prasad Vasudeva Atri, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Shyam is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. Shyam’s NWI research project focuses on the development of a computational and experimental study for the particle capture using electrostatically charged multilayer nonwovens.

Principal Investigators: Hooman Tafreshi, Ph.D., NC State University; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Shyam Prasad Vasudeva Atri, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Nishant Bhatta, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Nishant is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. Nishant’s research project focuses on the use of centrifugal force to decouple the saturation profile from airflow in a partially wetted coalescing media to isolate the role of the nonwoven’s microstructure in promoting/preventing fluid transport.

Principal Investigators: Hooman Tafreshi, Ph.D., NC State University; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Nishant Bhatta, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Katie Ernst, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Jose Fernandez, Forest Biomaterials

Jose is a Ph.D. candidate in Forest Biomaterials at NC State University. Jose’s NWI research project focuses on understanding how composition, fiber configuration/phase morphology and additives impact biodegradability and nonwoven performance.  

Principal Investigators: Richard Venditti, Ph.D., NC State University; Joel Pawlak, Ph.D., NC State University

Jose Fernandez, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Dominic Garcia, Fiber and Polymer Science

Dominic is a Ph.D. candidate in Fiber and Polymer Science at NC State University. Dominic’s NWI research project involves the investigation of fundamental properties of nonwovens, such as crystallization and spinning techniques, for the improvement of thermally bonded nonwovens, benchmarked by qualities like tensile strength or appearance.  

Principal Investigators: Eunkyoung Shim, Ph.D., NC State University

Dominic Garcia, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Morgan Gilbert, Fiber and Polymer Science

Morgan recently completed a master’s degree in Textiles with a certificate in Nonwoven Science and Technology at NC State University. Morgan is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science at NC State and will be engaged in a new NWI research project. As a master’s degree student, Morgan completed an NWI research project focused on determining the amount of hydroentangling energy required to produce a nonwoven that is durable enough to withstand repeated laundering, therefore, rendering it a reusable fabric.

Principal Investigator: Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Morgan Gilbert, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Mariel Gomez, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Narjess Hajilou, Biomedical Engineering

Young Jae Kim, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Young Jae Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. His NWI research project is focused on developing hydrocarbon-based alternatives to fluorocarbons for enhancing the performance of nonwoven materials. Historically, fluorocarbons have exhibited the highest resistance to fluids, but their toxicity, specifically the bio-accumulative nature of PFAS compounds, has prompted companies to seek alternatives.

Principal Investigator: Arun Kumar Kota, Ph.D., NC State University

Young Jae Kim, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Christine Lee, Fiber and Polymer Science

Christine is a Ph.D. candidate in Fiber and Polymer Science at NC State University. Christine’s NWI research project is focused on improving the mechanical properties of polylactic acid (PLA), such as crystallinity, shrinkage and heat deflection temperature (HDT), by blending PLA with other biopolymers such as polybutylene succinate (PBS) and poly-D-lactic acid (PDLA) for expanded use in nonwoven applications.

Principal Investigators: Mehmet Desdemir, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Christine Lee, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Darshana Malusare, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Darshana is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University. Darshana’s NWI research project focuses on exploring adsorbent particulate deposition in coform spunbond processes.

Principal Investigators: Saad Khan, Ph.D., NC State University; Hooman Tafreshi, Ph.D., NC State University

Darshana Mulasare, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Sreenivasan Narayanan, Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering; Chemical and Life Science Engineering

Sreenivasan is a Ph.D. candidate in the departments of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and Chemical & Life Science Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. Sreenivasan’s NWI research project is focused on developing a fundamental understanding of surface modification of polypropylene (PP) substrates with temperature-responsive liquid crystals using droplet-on-demand printing and wet polymer layer to modulate the penetration of the droplet, as well as liquid crystal self-assembly, for the potential application in sensing mask fit and leak detection.

Principal Investigators: Christina Tang, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University; Hong Zhao, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University

Sreenivasan Narayanan, The Nonwovens Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University

Mahsa Nazem, Textile Technology Management

Anicah Smith-O’Brien, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Anicah is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University. Anicah’s NWI research project focuses on developing a fundamental understanding of how surfactant type (anionic, cationic or nonionic) and blending effect both aerobic and anaerobic biodegradability of polylactic acid (PLA), polycaprolactone (PCL), and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) substrates and to assess surfactant absorption and the subsequent impact on wettability.

Principal Investigators: Saad Khan, Ph.D., NC State University; Morton Barlaz, Ph.D., NC State University

Anicah Smith-O'Brien, The Nonwovens Institute, North Carolina State University

Büşra Özdemir, Fiber and Polymer Science

Büşra is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Polymer and Fiber Science at NC State University. Büşra’s NWI research project focuses on the charging behavior of nonwovens, with the aim of determining the parameters that affect the efficiency and pressure drop of respirators.

Principal Investigators: Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State; Hooman Tafreshi, Ph.D., NC State

Büşra Özdemir, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Shajid Rahman, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Shajid is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. Shajid’s NWI research project focuses on modeling compression recovery in multicomponent nonwovens, with the aim of developing a microscale force-network model that can simulate propagation of normal and tangential stresses through fiber-fiber contact in a 3-D fibrous structure.

Principal Investigators: Hooman Tafreshi, Ph.D., NC State University; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Shajid Rahman, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

SK Mashfiqur Rahman, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

SK Mashfiqur is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. SK Mashfiqur’s NWI research project focuses on simulation and experimental characterization of nanofibrous materials with the aim of incorporating modern tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to inform the electrospinning process.

Principal Investigators: Hooman Tafreshi, Ph.D., NC State University; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

SK Mashfiqur Rahman, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Mauricio Ruiz, Fiber and Polymer Science

Justin Sehlin, Iowa State University

Breno Bezerra De Souza, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Anastasia Timofeeva, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Anastasia is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NC State University. Anastasia’s NWI research project focuses on the development of a high-speed polarization imaging technique for fiber spinning lines to capture fiber failure modes, with the aim of developing a machine learning (ML) model for near-real-time in-situ production process monitoring.

Principal Investigators: Mark Pankow, Ph.D., NC State University; Kara Peters, Ph.D., NC State University

Anastasia Timofeeva, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Nur Uddin, Fiber and Polymer Science

Lucille Verster, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Forest Biomaterials

Lucille is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Forest Biomaterials at NC State University. Lucille’s NWI research project aims to develop a novel millifluidic flow device (MFD) to characterize nonwoven plastics with regards to environmental degradation.

Principal Investigators: Lokendra Pal, Ph.D., NC State University; Orlin Velev, Ph.D., NC State University

Lucille Verster, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Yanyue Wang, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Yanyue is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago. Yanyue’s NWI research project focuses on modeling bicomponent fiber extrusion with the aim of deriving equations that govern the stresses in the cross-section of bicomponent sheath-core fibers.

Principal Investigators: A.L. Yarin, Ph.D., University of Illinois Chicago; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Yanyue Wang, The Nonwovens Institute, University of Illinois Chicago

Jingwei Wu, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Jingwei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago. Jingwei’s NWI research project is focused on developing a novel filter media via electrospinning of thermo-responsive or pH-responsive water-insoluable PNIPAM-based nanofiber media, webs and membranes.

Principal Investigators: A.L. Yarin, Ph.D., University of Illinois Chicago; Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Jingwei Wu, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Recent Graduates

Tara Coia, Fiber and Polymer Science

Dr. Coia completed a Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science at NC State University in 2023. Dr. Coia’s NWI research project focused on maximizing the loading of Metal Organic Framework (MOF) particles when attached to fibers and the functionality of MOF with respect to the amount of particles and available surface area on the fibers as relates to adsorption functionality.

Principal Investigators: Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NCSU; Pierre Grondin, NWI; Benoit Maze, NWI/NC State University

Tara Coia, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Sophie Nunno-Gorbachev, Textile Technology Management

Sophie Nunno-Gorbachev is a Ph.D. candidate in The Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University. Sophie’s NWI research project focuses on direct-to-textile 3D printing, investigating 3D-printed structures and prototypes and studying the interaction between 3D-printed parts and fabric.

Principal Investigator: Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., NWI/NC State University

Sophie Nunno-Gorbachev, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Pallav Jani, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Pallav Jani is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University. Pallav’s research focuses on the evaluation of interactions between slip additives and hydrophilic finishes in polypropylene nonwovens.

Principal Investigators: Lilian Hsiao, Ph.D., NC State University; Saad Khan, Ph.D., NC State University

Pallav Jani, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Zvikomborero Machikiti, Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dr. Machikiti completed a Ph.D. in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University in 2023. Dr. Machikiti’s NWI research project focused on identifying suitable chemical strategies for adhesion control between polyamide and polyester nonwoven fibers; establishing suitable experimental methods to measure adhesion strength between polyester and modified polyamide; and the use of mechanical agitation and imaging techniques to determine the splittability of modified biocomponent fibers.

Principal Investigators: Kirill Efimenko, Ph.D., NC State University; Jan Genzer, Ph.D., NC State University

Zvikomborero Machikiti, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

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If you have questions about NWI or our service offering, please contact us at nonwovens@ncsu.edu.