College of Textiles

College of Textiles professor Dr. Tushar Ghosh and College of Engineering professors Richard Spontak and John Muth have devised new materials that aim to put some serious muscle behind robots and biomedical devices. The new artificial muscle material—an electroactive polymer called a dielectric elastomer—is activated by an external electrical field causing it to change dimensions in specific directions. Projected uses include everything from biomedical applications such as smart prosthetics, steerable catheters, and micropumps, to robots, responsive textiles, refreshable Braille pads, and small vehicles that fly or slither into caves. Compared to other dielectric elastomers currently available, the NC State artificial muscle material is attractive because of its low cost, light weight, robust mechanical properties, and potential to emulate biological muscle. “Our materials can be tailored for broadly different performance,” says Spontak, “giving them versatility unmatched by other, more conventional electroresponsive materials.”

College Awards 10-Year Comparison 1998-2007

*Funding spike in 05-06 reflects receipt of two years’ funding for the National Textile Center in the same fiscal year.

Led by Dr. Behnam Pourdeyhimi, William A. Klopman Distinguished Professor of Textiles, NC State’s new Nonwovens Institute was inaugurated in 2007. As the world’s first academic program for the interdisciplinary study of engineered fabrics, the Institute will help bolster the state’s standing in the fast-growing nonwoven textile industry through a partnership of industry, government, and the university. Nonwoven textiles are materials that are neither woven nor knit, and are widespread in everyday products such as automobiles, medical products, industrial products, clothing, air and water filters, and personal hygiene products. The Nonwovens Institute, combining the expertise of NC State’s leading colleges of Textiles, Engineering, and Natural Resources, will develop the next generation of nonwoven applications while educating and training future industry leaders. “The Nonwovens Institute is making history,” says Robb Lovegrove, Director of Global Marketing for Eastern Chemical Company. “It’s a notable first in higher education.”


Drs. Richard Spontak and Tushar Ghosh, and graduate research assistant Arjun Krishnan

Dr. Benham Pourdeyhimi