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K-State Today

August 3, 2016

Apparel, textiles, and interior design assistant professor Jooyoun Kim works to develop super-repellent fabrics

Submitted by Sarah Hancock

Jooyoun Kim, assistant professor of apparel, textiles, and interior design, has made progress in her effort to produce some special textiles. Nano-size roughness and chemical treatment can make nonwoven fabric surfaces superhydrophobic, or highly water-repellent. The fabric could have many uses.

"Such a material could have many environmental and health applications," Kim said. "It could be used for air filtration or as a protective textile, or for self-cleaning fabric," Kim said.

Kim's research has been accepted by RSC Advances. "Analysis of contact area between water and irregular fibrous surface for prediction of wettability" is available online and will be published in an upcoming issue. Kim's co-authors are Yue Yuan, a master's student, and Seong-O Choi, a faculty member from the anatomy and physiology department in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Choi conducts research on transdermal and intracellular drug delivery using nanotechnology and fabrication of nano-devices for biomedical applications through the Nanotechnology Innovation Center of Kansas State. Kim's student used Choi's lab to conduct experiments in surface modification of the materials.

Kim has had two manuscripts accepted for presentation at upcoming conferences, including this fall's International Textile and Apparel Association gathering. Yuan also is presenting on her involvement in the project at the conference and won third place in the interdisciplinary research category at the K-State Graduate Research, Arts and Discovery Forum this spring.

Support from programs for new faculty were instrumental in connecting Kim and Choi and in supporting Kim's research. The researchers met on a federal relations trip to Washington, D.C., for new faculty. They said the journey promoted collaboration because they were able to meet other faculty members and talk about projects as they learned from visits to funding agencies and legislative delegations. Kim is planning another collaboration with a Nanotechnology Innovation Center of Kansas State faculty member from chemistry who also was on the trip.

A University Small Research Grant from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in fall 2015 supplied Kim with vital funding to pay for microscopic imaging and materials. Kim's efforts to further develop the material and identify applications are ongoing.

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