US college dean discusses 'new world of textiles'
By Camaron Kao, The China Post
September 27, 2012, 11:26 am TWN
"We use the tagline 'new world of textiles' in my college to remind people that (the textile industry) is not just T-shirts and socks," said professor A. Blanton Godfrey during an exclusive interview with The China Post on Sept. 25.
Godfrey is the dean of North Carolina State University's College of Textiles, the leading college of its kind in the U.S. He was invited by Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI, 紡織產業綜合研究所) as a keynote speaker of the 2012 Textile International Forum and Exhibition (TIFE 2012) and the third Asian Protective Clothing Conference (APCC).
"When (people talk about) an airplane they will think about the seats and the carpet, but they will not think about the whole structure," the dean said. In fact, approximately 70 percent of the airplane structures of Boeing and 80 percent of the airplane structure of Airbus are made of carbon fiber to make the plane stronger and last longer.
According to Godfrey, the application of textiles is limitless. The best bicycles in the world and tennis rackets used in the Olympic Games are all made of carbon fiber. Sports stadiums use fabric domes, which allow them to hold matches in cold and hot weather. If one person takes a car apart, the person can find about 200 textile products. "It is only limited by imagination," the dean said with a smile.
As for the focus of TIFE 2012 and the third APCC — safety, environment, and protection — Godfrey said the topics have everything to do with the textile industry.
"We produce protective textiles for firemen, the police force, motorcyclists, ER workers, and people climbing Mt. Everest," the dean said.
The professor said they not only have to make the apparel protective but also comfortable. In terms of a firefighter for example, this could actually save his or her life.
Furthermore, the textile industry can create savings in terms of pollution, after having been a polluter for some time, the professor said.
Citing an incident in China when a textile company dumped its dyes into the water and killed many fish, the dean said his college is now working on a new dyeing process that doesn't require water. Thus, water will not be polluted and companies do not need to dry the fabric after dyeing it.
Furthermore, Godfrey said that by using carbon fiber, auto companies can make lighter cars, which can run with smaller engines and less fuel.