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Advanced Functional Fabrics partnership moves forward

The AFFOA partnership builds on recent breakthroughs in fiber materials and manufacturing processes that will soon allow scientists to design and manufacture fabrics that see, hear, sense, communicate, store and convert energy, regulate temperature, monitor health and change color.


UGA researchers who will play critical roles in AFFOA include Sergiy Minko, the Georgia Power Professor of Polymers, Fibers and Textiles in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and a professor in Franklin College's chemistry department; Suraj Sharma, an associate professor in the textiles, merchandising and interiors department of College of Family and Consumer Sciences; and Jason Locklin, an associate professor in the College of Engineering and chemistry in Franklin College. Researchers from the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center who conduct research on biopolymers also will contribute to research and development of new technical textiles. Innovation Gateway, UGA's commercialization and startup arm, will be instrumental in bringing new technologies to the market, including a portfolio of 10 existing textile, fiber and polymer technologies.

This major development in public-private cooperation arrives courtesy of interdisciplinary research collaboration, jointly-funded faculty positions and the longterm vision that brings creative research teams together and funds the facilities necessary to turn innovative thinking into products and services. If that sounds like a lot, that's because it describes a major research institution in a nutshell: visionary thinkers at every level, from the lab to upper administration, from faculty and graduate student recruitment to contracts and grants. A lot of great work has taken place to create space for researchers to make big leaps in practical capabilities. That work continues with this news. Congratulations to those mentioned in conjunction with this work on fabrics, but we also acknowledge the vision of UGA faculty and administrators whose commitment to innovation seeded its possibility: Dale Threadgill, Gordhan Patel, Garnett Stokes, Wyatt Anderson, John Stickney, Ian Hardin, Karen Holbrook, Brahm Verma, Bill Dennis, Laura Jolly, Michael Adams. The list goes on. More giants, more shoulders to stand on.

Image: From left, chemistry associate professor Jason Locklin; textiles, merchandising, and interiors associate professor Suraj Sharma; Vice President for Research David Lee; and chemistry professor Sergiy Minko have worked together in UGA's part of a national public-private partnership to accelerate the widespread commercialization of highly functional, advanced fibers and textiles for the defense and commercial markets. Photo by Andrew Tucker

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